Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The East India Company and Religion, 1698-1858

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The East India Company and Religion, 1698-1858

Article excerpt

The East India Company and Religion, 1698-1858. By Penelope Carson. Worlds of the East India Company, Vol. 7. (Rochester, New York: Boydell & Brewer, Pp. 277. $115.00.)

This is a traditional, densely written, well-researched historical monograph. Had it appeared a few decades ago, it would have been of considerably more interest than now. Waves of recent India-related religious studies are passed over, including the works of Diana L. Eck and Francis X. Clooney on Indian religions and a generation of subaltern studies on the reactions of Indian peoples to foreign invaders. And no study of the British imperial presence in India can ignore the extensive writings of Nicholas B. Dirks, anthropologist and historian, who has written on the East India Company and complex figures like Warren Hastings and John Stuart Mill. The pivotal, if incomplete, writings of Edward Said and others on Orientalism should have been addressed at some point in any study of the British East India Company and religion.

The book is at its best a discussion of East India Company internal politics, its relations with Parliament, and with evangelicals, who emerged as a formidable political presence increasingly contesting the mainstream Church of England missionary presence in India. Unfortunately, the book does not probe many analytical avenues that its subject matter suggests. …

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