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Classifying the Natives in Early Modern Ethnographies

Henry Lord's A Display of Two Foreign Sects in the East Indies (1630)

Amrita Sen and Jyotsna G. Singh

This article examines the politics and rhetorics of early modern ethnography via Henry Lord's famous treatise A Display of Two Foreign Sects in the East Indies (1630). Lord, a chaplain with the East India Company, attempted to classify Indian religious and caste identities—particularly those of the Banians—at a time when England's trading fortunes in India were still tenuous, though promising. Turning to the Shaster which he understands as the Banian Bible, Lord offers his readers a glimpse into Hindu mythologies—stories of genesis and the flood—which result in the creation of the four Indian castes. Understood in terms of humoral, psychological, and moral taxonomies these castes fall within emergent proto-racial hierarchies. Simultaneously, the journeys of the four brothers—Brammon, Cuttery, Shuddery, and Wyse—progenitors of their respective castes reenact familiar tropes of European travel writing combining the logic of profit with the “discovery” of hitherto unclaimed lands and erotic bodies.

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Eloise Grey

In 1808, Theodore Forbes, aged 20 and a younger son of John Forbes of Upper Boyndlie, left his home at Haddo of Forgue, Aberdeenshire, to work for the East India Company in Bombay. 1 In his wake, he left an illegitimate Scottish son, Frederick

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Self-Fashioning and Auto-Ethnography

Samuel Baron's Description of Tonqueen (1686)

Anna Winterbottom

Samuel Baron's A Description of the Kingdom of Tonqueen (1686) contains many tropes of the European travel narrative. However, its author was no stranger to the country, but was born to a Vietnamese mother and Dutch father in mid-seventeenth-century Hanoi. Here I discuss how Baron fashioned his identity during his life to attract multiple patrons in the unstable maritime world of Southeast and East Asia. I re-read his Description as an example of “auto-ethnography,” showing how the author shaped his work to achieve certain ends. A comparison with a contemporary Chinese description of northern Vietnam reveals many similarities in tone and approach and helps situate Baron's text within the commercial and diplomatic exchanges of the region.

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Peter Merriman, Georgine Clarsen, and Gijs Mom

(Farnham: Ashgate, 2011). 2 Miles Ogborn, Indian Ink: Script and Print in the Making of the English East India Company (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007). 3 Peter Merriman, “Mobility,” in Globalization in Practice , ed. Nigel Thrift, Adam

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Abin Chakraborty

behest of the East India Company, Coryat, despite traveling with merchants, arrived in India to fulfill his aspirations as a traveler—an identity he had already established after traveling on foot across parts of France, Northern Italy, Switzerland, and

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In the Eyes of Some Britons

Aleppo, an Enlightenment City

Mohammad Sakhnini

gateway to India: it was a commercial hub on the edge of vast deserts connecting Syria with the Persian Gulf. Aleppo was a caravan city between Iraq and Syria, and many East India Company servants and military officers visited and lived in Aleppo on their

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Jackie Clarke, Melanie Kay Smith, Margret Jäger, Anne O’Connor, and Robert Shepherd

are from the writings of Robert Fortune, a Scottish horticulturalist and plant hunter who, whilst working for the East India Company, introduced the tea plant from China to British India for the development of the Indian tea plantations. The breadth of

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Are “the Natives” Educable?

Dutch Schoolchildren Learn Ethical Colonial Policy (1890–1910)

Elisabeth Wesseling and Jacques Dane

-old involvement with the East Indies, which began when the United East India Company (VOC, founded in 1602) opened its first trading posts on Java in 1603. The Dutch government, which took over in 1795 after the VOC had gone bankrupt, succeeded in turning the

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Gargi Gangopadhyay

headquarters of the government-run East India Company. Calcutta was to remain the capital of British India until 1911. 3 See Shibnath Shastri, Ramtanu Lahiri and Contemporary Bengal (Kolkata: New Age Publishers, [1904] 2007); Punyalata Chakraborty

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A Hybrid New World… or Not?

Transformation versus Hybridisation in Early Modern World

Fatima Essadek

the like. —John Jourdain, The Journal of John Jourdain, 1608–1617 The above statement describes William Hawkins, the captain of the Hector , the first East India Company ship to cast anchor in the Indian port of Surat on 24 August 1608