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Grant number like: FT-52956-04

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Siraj Ahmed
Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, MA 01075-1461)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2004 – 8/31/2004

Enlightenment Writing, Early British India, and the Origins of Empire

My manuscript treats British writing about the first century of rule in India, c. 1672-1815. It argues that this body of literature turns our understanding of the relation between the Enlightenment and imperialism on its head: the Enlightenment considered imperialism to be a form not of progress, but rather of degeneration. The manuscript's central character is the imperial merchant who reverses the stages of civil progress when he settles in the colony, returning to a condition of savagery that he eventually imports back to Europe. My manuscript explains the historical significance of this degenerative figure, which ultimately reflects an awareness of the global economy's lost promise during each stage of early modern imperialism.