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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century$
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Andrew Porter

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205654

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205654.001.0001

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The Evolution of Colonial Cultures: Nineteenth-Century Asia

The Evolution of Colonial Cultures: Nineteenth-Century Asia

Chapter:
(p.447) 20 The Evolution of Colonial Cultures: Nineteenth-Century Asia
Source:
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century
Author(s):

Susan Bayly

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205654.003.0020

This chapter explores the phenomenon of ‘invisible empire’, that is, the many different encounters of the intellect and imagination which brought Asians and Britons together, often violently and contentiously, during the ‘long’ nineteenth century. It specifically asks what cultural differences British rule made to the complex societies of colonial Asia. It also concentrates on three main aspects of ‘invisible empire’. The first of these is setting and context, that is, the basic facts of urbanization, literacy, and other forces shaping local cultural encounters. The second is religion, since it was in the arena of worship that the peoples of East and West had many of their most far-reaching confrontations. The third is the intersection of culture and politics, with the political defined to include public debates on the status of women as well as other ‘modern’ issues touching on the definition of collective and individual rights and moral standards.

Keywords:   invisible empire, colonial Asia, British rule, urbanization, literacy, religion, politics, individual rights, moral standards

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