Joshua EhrlichSep 16, 2023
The East India Company and the Politics of Knowledge
Cambridge University Press 2023
The East India Company is remembered as the world's most powerful, not to say notorious, corporation. But for many of its advocates from the 1770s to the 1850s it was also the world's most enlightened one.
Joshua Ehrlich reveals that a commitment to knowledge was integral to the Company's ideology. In The East India Company and the Politics of Knowledge (Cambridge UP, 2023), he shows how the Company cited this commitment in defense of its increasingly fraught union of commercial and political power. He moves beyond studies of orientalism, colonial knowledge, and information with a new approach: the history of ideas of knowledge. He recovers a world of debate among the Company's officials and interlocutors, Indian and European, on the political uses of knowledge. Not only were these historical actors highly articulate on the subject but their ideas continue to resonate in the present. Knowledge was a fixture in the politics of the Company – just as it seems to be becoming a fixture in today's politics.
Joshua Ehrlich is a historian of knowledge, political thought, the East India Company, the British Empire, and South and Southeast Asia. Currently Assistant Professor of History at the University of Macau, he received a PhD and MA from Harvard University and a BA from the University of Chicago.
Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel.