New Books Network

Eugenia Herbert, “Flora’s Empire: British Gardens in India” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011)
Horticulture is not an activity normally associated with Empire building. But Eugenia Herbert‘s book Flora’s Empire: British Gardens in India (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011). But ‘garden imperialism’ was all too common in the Indian subcontinent, as its many conquerors attempted to tame and order a land that seemed... Read More
Steve Inskeep, “Instant City: LIfe and Death in Karachi” (Penguin, 2011)
In his new book, Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi (Penguin Press, 2011), Steve Inskeep, host of NPR’s Morning Edition, chronicles the story of Karachi’s seemingly instantaneous population explosion, from only 350,000 inhabitants in 1941 to well over 13 million today. Inskeep looks at the circumstances that encouraged and... Read More
Philip Stern, “The Company-State: Corporate Sovereignty and the Early Modern Foundations of the British Empire in India” (Oxford UP, 2011)
‘Traders to rulers’ is an enduring caption insofar as the English East India Company is concerned. But were they ever just traders to start off with, and they eventually morph into mere temporal rulers unconcerned with the dynamics of the global economy? Philip Stern‘s book, The Company-State: Corporate Sovereignty and... Read More
Alexander Morrison, “Russian Rule in Samarkand, 1868-1910: A Comparison with British India” (Oxford UP, 2008)
Great Britain and Russia faced off across the Pamirs for much of the nineteenth century; their rivalries and animosities often obscuring underlying commonalities; these were, after all, colonial Empires governing ‘alien’ peoples, and faced much the same problems insofar as maintaining their rule was concerned. Alexander Morrison‘s Russian Rule in... Read More
Chris Poullaos and Suki Sian, “Accountancy and Empire: The British Legacy of Professional Organization” (Routledge, 2010)
For an empire supposedly founded on the back of trade, not much attention has been paid to how the finances of the British Empire were organized- or to the people who organized them. Chris Poullaos‘ and Suki Sian‘s pioneering compendium, Accountancy and Empire: The British Legacy of Professional Organization (Routledge,... Read More
Yasmin Saikia, “Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh: Remembering 1971” (Duke UP, 2011)
It’s almost a cliche to say that war dehumanizes those who participate in it – the organizers of violence, those who commit violent acts, and the victims of violence. In her new book, Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh: Remembering 1971 (Duke University Press, 2011), historian Yasmin Saikia seeks... Read More
Vera Tolz, “Russia’s Own Orient: The Politics of Identity and Oriental Studies in the late Imperial and Early Soviet Periods” (Oxford UP, 2011)
Everyone knows that the late nineteenth-century Russian Empire was the largest land based empire around, and that it was growing yet- at fifty-five square miles a day, no less. But how did Moscow and St. Petersberg go about making the bewildering array of peoples and ethnicities into subjects subject of... Read More
Cecilia Leong-Salobir, “Food Culture in Colonial Asia: A Taste of Empire” (Routledge, 2011)
Hobson-Jobson was not just about administration and geopolitics- the language of Empire extended to its culinary endeavours as well. Thus chota hazri, tiffin,and curry puffs at Peliti’s were the things that sustained an army of civil servants as they went about registering land records in the United Provinces, negotiating with... Read More
Mark Bradley, “Classics and Imperialism in the British Empire” (Oxford UP, 2010)
The Greco-Roman world was the prism through which the British viewed their imperial efforts, and Mark Bradley’s compendium Classics and Imperialism in the British Empire (Oxford University Press, 2010) explores the various ways in which this reception of the classics occurred. From museums, to oratorical texts, to theories of race,... Read More
Vinayak Chaturvedi, “Peasant Pasts: History and Memory in Western India” (University of California Press, 2007)
The odds are that if you don’t figure in an administration’s records, you won’t figure in the historical record. But what do you do to get into those records? Raising a ruckus is one way. But that works only if someone else hasn’t managed to raise more of a ruckus... Read More