Representing Colonial Authority: The Visual Environment of Walter Sherwill in 1851

Rycroft, Daniel (2011) Representing Colonial Authority: The Visual Environment of Walter Sherwill in 1851. In: The British Empire and the Natural World: Environmental Encounters in South Asia. Oxford University Press, New Delhi, pp. 43-67. ISBN 13: 978-0-19-806970-6

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This essay discusses how the idea of colonial science gained cultural dominance during the early 1850s. It explores the visual construction of a ‘tribal’ identity amongst Santals in the Rajmahal Hills of Bengal (now Jharkhand State) by Walter Stanhope Sherwill, a revenue surveyor and geologist working with the British East India Company. In the article I argue that Sherwill constructed a representational framework that would subordinate these new inhabitants of the Damin-i-Koh, itself a colonial district invented to ‘improve’ (according to utilitarian ideology) the forested frontier that came between the Company and its de-territorializing mission. The article focuses on the discursive production of colonial scientific authority in 1851, a pivotal year in terms of the increased visibility of ‘India’ in Britain. I develop an understanding of the processes through which the Rajmahal Hills and its Santal population were enframed within imperial discourses of de-territorialization.

Item Type: Book Section
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Art History and World Art Studies
Depositing User: Daniel Rycroft
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2011 08:43
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 09:00

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