Historians have so far made few attempts to assess directly the costs and benefits of Britain's investment in empire. This book presents answers to some of the key questions about the economics of imperialism: how large was the flow of finance to the empire? How great were the profits on empire investment? What were the social costs of maintaining the empire? Who received the profits, and who bore the costs? The authors show that colonial finance did not dominate British capital markets; returns from empire investment were not high in comparison to earnings in the domestic and foreign sectors; there is no evidence of continued exploitative profits; and empire profits were earned at a substantial cost to the taxpayer. They depict British imperialism as a mechanism to effect an income transfer from the tax-paying middle class to the elites in which the ownership of imperial enterprise was heavily concentrated, with some slight net transfer to the colonies in the process.
Two centuries ago, Punjab's Sikh ruling elite lavishly patronised artists and craftsmen to enhance the extraordinary splendour of their flourishing empire. A sumptuous array of objects fit for Sikh kings, queens, warriors and saints were produced by skilled artisans to reflect a vibrant and potent new power on the world's stage. By the mid-19th century, the Sikh kingdom had met its demise at the hands of the British Empire. With the loss of Sikh patronage, artistic production switched to serve the tastes of the new colonial rulers, bringing to an end a unique cultural endeavour. Over the next century and a half, original Sikh artefacts gradually dispersed across the globe, often as official gifts, prized auction purchases and also as loot. Some of these remnants of empire ended up in institutional collections, while others were bartered and sold by collectors. Through the remarkable achievements of one such collector who pursued his passion to create the world's finest private collection of Sikh art, this book reveals the lasting legacy of the Sikh Empire.
The pursuit of Lakshmi, the fickle goddess of prosperity and good fortune, is a metaphor for the aspirations of the state and people of independent India. In the latest of their distinguished contributions to South Asian studies, scholars Lloyd I. Rudolph and Susanne Hoeber Rudolph focus on this modern-day pursuit by offering a comprehensive analysis of India's political economy. India occupies a paradoxical plane among nation states: it is both developed and underdeveloped, rich and poor, strong and weak. These contrasts locate India in the international order. The Rudolphs' theory of demand and command polities provides a general framework for explaining the special circumstances of the Indian experience. Contrary to what one might expect in a country with great disparities of wealth, no national party, right or left, pursues the politics of class. Instead, the Rudolphs argue, private capital and organized labor in India face a "third actor"—the state. Because of the dominance of the state makes class politics marginal, the state is itself an element in the creation of the centrist-oriented social pluralism that has characterized Indian politics since independence. In analyzing the relationship between India's politics and its economy, the Rudolphs maintain that India's economic performance has been only marginally affected by the type of regime in power—authoritarian or democratic. More important, they show that rising levels of social mobilization and personalistic rule have contributed to declining state capacity and autonomy. At the same time, social mobilization has led to a more equitable distribution of economic benefits and political power, which has enhanced the state's legitimacy among its citizens. The scope and explanatory power of In Pursuit of Lakshmi will make it essential for all those interested in political economy, comparative politics, Asian studies and India.
The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea
Author: Steve Levine
Publisher: Random House
Remote, forbidding, and volatile, the Caspian Sea long tantalized the world with its vast oil reserves. But outsiders, blocked by the closed Soviet system, couldn’t get to it. Then the Soviet Union collapsed, and a wholesale rush into the region erupted. Along with oilmen, representatives of the world’s leading nations flocked to the Caspian for a share of the thirty billion barrels of proven oil reserves at stake, and a tense geopolitical struggle began. The main players were Moscow and Washington–the former seeking to retain control of its satellite states, and the latter intent on dislodging Russia to the benefit of the West. The Oil and the Glory is the gripping account of this latest phase in the epochal struggle for control of the earth’s “black gold.” Steve LeVine, who was based in the region for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Newsweek, weaves an astonishing tale of high-stakes political gamesmanship, greed, and scandal, set in one of the most opaque corners of the world. In LeVine’s telling, the world’s energy giants jockey for position in the rich Kazakh and Azeri oilfields, while superpowers seek to gain a strategic foothold in the region and to keep each other in check. At the heart of the story is the contest to build and operate energy pipelines out of the landlocked region, the key to controlling the Caspian and its oil. The oil pipeline that resulted, the longest in the world, is among Washington’s greatest foreign policy triumphs in at least a decade and a half. Along the way, LeVine introduces such players as James Giffen, an American moneyman who was also the political “fixer” for oil companies eager to do business on the Caspian and the broker for Kazakhstan’s president and ministers; John Deuss, the flamboyant Dutch oil trader who won big but lost even bigger; Heydar Aliyev, the oft-misunderstood Azeri president who transcended his past as a Soviet Politburo member and masterminded a scheme to loosen Russian control over its former colonies in the Caspian region; and all manner of rogues, adventurers, and others drawn by the irresistible pull of untold riches and the possible “final frontier” of the fossil-fuel era. The broader story is of the geopolitical questions of the Caspian oil bonanza, such as whether Russia can be a trusted ally and trading partner with the West, and what Washington’s entry into this important but chaotic region will mean for its long-term stability. In an intense and suspenseful narrative, The Oil and the Glory is the definitive chronicle of events that are understood by few, but whose political and economic impact will be both profound and lasting.
Situated at the intersection of the colonial and the postcolonial, the modern and the postmodern, the novelists Christina Stead, Doris Lessing, and Nadine Gordimer all bear witness to this century's global transformations. From the Margins of Empire looks at how the question of national identity is constructed in their writings. These authors—white women who were born or grew up in British colonies or former colonies—reflect the subject of national identity in vastly different ways in both their lives and their work. Stead, who resided outside of her native Australia, has an unsettled identity. Lessing, who grew up in southern Rhodesia and migrated to England, is or has become English. Gordimer, who was born in South Africa and remains there, considers herself South African. Louise Yelin shows how the three writers' different national identities are inscribed in their fiction. The invented, hybrid character of nationality is, she maintains, a constant throughout. Locating the writings of Stead, Lessing, and Gordimer in the national cultures that produced and read them, she considers the questions they raise about the roles that whites, especially white women, can play in the new political and cultural order.
Drugs and Stimulants in Iranian History, 1500-1900
Author: Rudolph P. Matthee
Publisher: Princeton University Press
From ancient times to the present day, Iranian social, political, and economic life has been dramatically influenced by psychoactive agents. This book looks at the stimulants that, as put by a longtime resident of seventeenth-century Iran, Raphaël du Mans, provided Iranians with damagh, gave them a "kick," got them into a good mood. By tracing their historical trajectory and the role they played in early modern Iranian society (1500-1900), Rudi Matthee takes a major step in extending contemporary debates on the role of drugs and stimulants in shaping the modern West. At once panoramic and richly detailed, The Pursuit of Pleasure examines both the intoxicants known since ancient times--wine and opiates--and the stimulants introduced later--tobacco, coffee, and tea--from multiple angles. It brings together production, commerce, and consumption to reveal the forces behind the spread and popularity of these consumables, showing how Iranians adapted them to their own needs and tastes and integrated them into their everyday lives. Matthee further employs psychoactive substances as a portal for a set of broader issues in Iranian history--most notably, the tension between religious and secular leadership. Faced with reality, Iran's Shi`i ulama turned a blind eye to drug use as long as it stayed indoors and did not threaten the social order. Much of this flexibility remains visible underneath the uncompromising exterior of the current Islamic Republic.
The Empire Theatre of Varieties and the Licensing Controversy of 1894
Author: Joseph Donohue
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
In the London summer of 1894, members of the National Vigilance Society, led by the well-known social reformer Laura Ormiston Chant, confronted the Empire Theatre of Varieties, Leicester Square, and its brilliant manager George Edwardes as he applied for a routine license renewal. On grounds that the Empire's promenade was the nightly resort of prostitutes, that the costumes in the theatre's ballets were grossly indecent, and that the moral health of the nation was imperiled, Chant demanded that the London County Council either deny the theatre its license or require radical changes in the Empire's entertainment and clientele before granting renewal. The resulting license restriction and the tremendous public controversy that ensued raised important issues--social, cultural, intellectual, and moral--still pertinent today.Fantasies of Empire is the first book to recount in full the story of the Empire licensing controversy in all its captivating detail. Contemporaneous accounts are interwoven with Donohue's identification and analysis of the larger issues raised: What the controversy reveals about contemporary sexual and social relations, what light it sheds on opposing views regarding the place of art and entertainment in modern society, and what it says about the pervasive effect of British imperialism on society's behavior in the later years of Queen Victoria's reign. Donohue connects the controversy to one of the most interesting developments in the history of modern theatre, the simultaneous emergence of a more sophisticated, varied, and moneyed audience and a municipal government insistent on its right to control and regulate that audience's social and cultural character and even its moral behavior.Rich in illustrations and entertainingly written, Fantasies of Empire will appeal to theatre, dance, and social historians and to students of popular entertainment, the Victorian period, urban studies, gender studies, leisure studies, and the social history of architecture.
This collection of Alaskan adventures begins with a newspaper article written by John Muir during his first visit to Alaska in 1879, when the sole U.S. government representative in all the territory's 586,412 square miles was a lone customs official in Sitka. It closes with accounts of the gold rush and the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle. Jean Meaux has gathered a superb collection of articles and stories that captivated American readers when they were first published and that will continue to entertain us today. The authors range from Charles Hallock (the founder of Forest and Stream, a precursor of Field and Stream) to New York society woman Mary Hitchcock, who traveled with china, silver, and a 2,800 square foot tent. After explorer Henry Allen wore out his boots, he marched barefoot as he continued mapping the Tanana River, and Episcopal Archdeacon Hudson Stuck mushed by dog sled in Arctic winters across a territory encompassing 250,000 miles of the northern interior. Although the United States acquired Alaska in 1867, it took more than a decade for American writers and explorers to focus attention on a territory so removed from their ordinary lives. These writers-adventurers, tourists, and gold seekers-would help define the nation's perception of Alaska and would contribute to an image of the state that persists today. This collection unearths early writings that offer a broad view of American encounters with Alaska accompanied by Meaux's lively and concise introductions. The present-day adventurer will find much to inspire exploration, while students of the American West can gain new access to this valuable trove of pre-Gold Rush Alaska archives. For more information go to: http://www.inpursuitofalaska.com