Nabobs: Empire and Identity in Eighteenth-Century Britain

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Cambridge University Press, Aug 12, 2010 - History - 266 pages
Tillman Nechtman explores the relationship between Britain and its empire in the late eighteenth century through the controversy that surrounded employees of the East India Company. Labelled as 'nabobs' by their critics, Company employees returned from India, bringing the subcontinent's culture with them - souvenirs like clothing, foods, jewels, artwork, and animals. To the nabobs, imperial keepsakes were a way of narrating their imperial biographies, lives that braided Britain and India together. However, their domestic critics preferred to see Britain as distinct from empire and so saw the nabobs as a dangerous community of people who sought to reverse the currents of imperialism and to bring the empire home. Drawing on cultural, material, and visual history, this book captures a far wider picture of the fascinating controversy and sheds considerable new light on the tensions and contradictions inherent in British national identity in the late eighteenth century.

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Introduction an imperial footprint
1 An India of the mind Enlightenment and empire in eighteenthcentury South Asia
2 Flesh and Blood cannot bear it private lives and imperial taxonomies in lateeighteenthcentury British India
3 The nabob controversy debating global imperialism
4 Imperial clutter the nabob controversy in the public sphere
5 Nabobinas gender luxury race and empire

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About the author (2010)

Tillman W. Nechtman is Assistant Professor of British and British Imperial History at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. He is the author of numerous articles on British imperial history.

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