The Global IndiesBritish Imperial Culture and the Reshaping of the World, 1756-1815

The Global IndiesBritish Imperial Culture and the Reshaping of the World, 1756-1815

Ashley L. Cohen

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9780300239973

Publisher: Yale University Press

Abstract

This book is a study of British imperialism's imaginative geography, exploring the pairing of India and the Atlantic world from literature to colonial policy. The book weaves a complex portrait of the imaginative geography of British imperialism. Contrary to most current scholarship, eighteenth-century Britons saw the empire not as separate Atlantic and Indian spheres but as an interconnected whole: the Indies. Crisscrossing the hemispheres, the book traces global histories of race, slavery, and class, from Boston to Bengal. It also reveals the empire to be pervasively present at home, in metropolitan scenes of fashionable sociability. The book reveals how the pairing of the two Indies in discourse helped produce colonial policies that linked them in practice. Combining the methods of literary studies and new imperial history, the book demonstrates how the imaginative geography of the Indies shaped the culture of British imperialism, which in turn changed the shape of the world.