Some of you, with an interest in the history of ideas, may be
interested in this book on the link between Scottish Enlightenment and
the East India Company structures of power in the pre 1857 period.
While many Marxian historians have critiqued Hegel and his analysis of
Colonialism regarding mass poverty in pre Industrial Revolution
European civil society, as undermining the concept of self sufficiency
of Civil Society as used by Western philosophers in the Western
Enlightenment traditions, Indian historians have not studied in
sufficient detail the concept of Western Universalism and its roots in
Scottish Enlightenment and the rise of East India Company, apart from
Trans Atlantic migrations of Scottish colonialists.
Scottish Enlightenment and Seeds of Colonialism in India
British India and British Scotland, 1780-1830 Career Building, Empire
Building, and a Scottish School of Thought on Indian Governance by
306 pp., 6 x 9, index
Cloth 978-1-884836-73-2; $49.95 Sale: $32.95
International, Political, and Economic History
- View an excerpt from British India and British Scotland - Atlas
Books, or by calling 1-800-247-6553
At the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, three
Scotsmen, Thomas Munro, John Malcolm, and Mountstuart Elphinstone,
rose in the service of the East India Company to become respected and
influential officials. McLaren explores connections between their
career building ambitions and their development of strategies of
Indian governance based on Scottish enlightenment conceptions of
government, religion, law, and political economy.
Exploring the interwoven careers of the three men, McLaren presents a
new perspective on their use of Indian language skills and Indian
knowledge and articulately written reports to gain promotion.
This perspective compels a reexamination of the orthodox
representation of their school of thought as largely pragmatic and
McLaren's work will further the understanding of British imperialism
in South Asia in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
"This [book] holds significance for scholars of intellectual history
in the fields of both Britain and British colonial India. It shows
well how the Scottish educational system, based on the Scottish
Enlightenment, shaped the thinking and promotion rate of three
important officials in the East India Company throughout their
-Michael Fisher, Oberlin College
"This is a valuable contribution to the field of British imperialism
in South Asia. Scholars interested in the English-Scottish relations
during this period, especially as they pertain to the empire, will
also likely read this with profit."
-Lynn Zastoupil, Rhodes College
Martha McLaren is adjunct professor in the Department of History at
Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. She specializes
in the intellectual history of British colonial South Asia and has
written several articles on that subject. She earned her Ph.D. from
Simon Fraser University.