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Black Hole of Empire History of a Global Practice of Power

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ISBN-10: 0691152012

ISBN-13: 9780691152011

Edition: 2012

Authors: Partha Chatterjee

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When Siraj, the ruler of Bengal, overran the British settlement of Calcutta in 1756, he allegedly jailed 146 European prisoners overnight in a cramped prison. Of the group, 123 died of suffocation. While this episode was never independently confirmed, the story of "the black hole of Calcutta" was widely circulated and seen by the British public as an atrocity committed by savage colonial subjects.The Black Hole of Empirefollows the ever-changing representations of this historical event and founding myth of the British Empire in India, from the eighteenth century to the present. Partha Chatterjee explores how a supposed tragedy paved the ideological foundations for the civilizing force of British imperial rule and territorial control in India.Chatterjee takes a close look at the justifications of modern empire by liberal thinkers, international lawyers, and conservative traditionalists, and examines the intellectual and political responses of the colonized, including those of Bengali nationalists. The two sides of empire's entwined history are brought together in the story of the Black Hole memorial: set up in Calcutta in 1760, demolished in 1821, restored by Lord Curzon in 1902, and removed in 1940 to a neglected churchyard. Challenging conventional truisms of imperial history, nationalist scholarship, and liberal visions of globalization, Chatterjee argues that empire is a necessary and continuing part of the history of the modern state.
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Book details

Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 4/8/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 440
Size: 5.75" wide x 9.50" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.342
Language: English

List of Illustrations
Outrage in Calcutta
The Travels of a Monument
Old Fort William
A New Nawab
The Fall of Calcutta
The Aftermath of Defeat
The "Genuine" Narrative
Reconquest and More
Whose Revolution?
A Secret Veil
The Conquest in History
The Age of Plunder
Early Histories of Conquest
The Modem State and Modem Empires
The Nabobs Come Home
The Critique of Conquest
Tipu�s Tiger
A Bengali in Britain
Contemporary Indian Histories
The Early Modern in South Asia
The Early Modern as a Category of Transition
Niti versus Dharma
An Early Modern History of Bengal
Tipu as an Early Modern Absolute Monarch
The Tiger of Mysore
The Mysore Family in Calcutta
Liberty of the Subject
The New Fort William
The Early Press in Calcutta
The Strength of Constitution
The Making of Early Modern Citizens
Other Early Modern Institutions
Equality of Subjects
The Falsehood of All Religions
The Colonization of Barbarous Countries
Citizens of Character and Capital
The Unsung End of Early Modernity
For the Happiness of Mankind
The Founding of a Myth
The Utility of Empire
The Morality of Empire
The Myth Refurbished
The Pedagogy of Violence
The Law of Nations in the East
Dalhousie and Paramountcy
Awadh under British Protection
The Road to Annexation
Awadh Annexed
Imperialism: Liberal and Antiliberal
A Chimerical Lucknow
The Pedagogy of Culture
The Contradictions of Colonial Modernity
The City and the Public
The New Bengali Theater
Shedding a Tear for Siraj
On the Poetic and Historical Imaginations
Siraj and the National-Popular
The Dramatic Form of the National-Popular
Surveillance and Proscription
Bombs, Sovereignty, and Football
The New Memorial
The Scramble for Empire
The Normalization of the, Nation-State
Violence and the Motherland
Early Actions
Strategies and Tactics
Igniting the Imagination
Football as a Manly Sport
Football and Nationalism
Official Responses
The Later Phase
The Death and Everlasting Life of Empire
A Gigantic Hoax
We Are Kings of the Country, and the Rest Are Slaves
Siraj, Once More on Stage
Endgames of Empire
Empire Today