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Mapping an Empire

The Geographical Construction of British India, 1765-1843

In this fascinating history of the British surveys of India, Matthew H. Edney relates how imperial Britain used modern survey techniques to not only create and define the spatial image of its Empire, but also to legitimate its colonialist activities.

"There is much to be praised in this book. It is an excellent history of how India came to be painted red in the nineteenth century. But more importantly, Mapping an Empire sets a new standard for books that examine a fundamental problem in the history of European imperialism."—D. Graham Burnett, Times Literary Supplement

"Mapping an Empire is undoubtedly a major contribution to the rapidly growing literature on science and empire, and a work which deserves to stimulate a great deal of fresh thinking and informed research."—David Arnold, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History

"This case study offers broadly applicable insights into the relationship between ideology, technology and politics. . . . Carefully read, this is a tale of irony about wishful thinking and the limits of knowledge."—Publishers Weekly

480 pages | 31 halftones, 5 maps, 1 line drawing | 6 x 9 | © 1997

Geography: Cartography

History: Asian History, British and Irish History

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and Maps
List of Tables
Note on East India Company Coinage
Places Mentioned in the Text: Southern India and Northern India
Chronology of Events and the Expansion of the East India Company
Ch. 1: The Ideologies and Practices of Mapping and Imperialism
Ch. 2: Observation and Representation
Ch. 3: Surveying and Mapmaking
Ch. 4: Structural Constraints of the East India Company’s Administration
Ch. 5: Cartographic Anarchy and System in Madras, 1790-1810
Ch. 6: Institutions for Mapping All of British India, 1814-23
Ch. 7: Triangulation, the Cartographic Panacea, 1825-32
Ch. 8: The Final Compromise: Triangulation and Archive, 1831-43
Ch. 9: Scientific Practice: Incorporating the Rationality of Empire
Ch. 10: Cartographic Practice: Inscribing an Imperial Space
Biographical Notes
Unpublished Primary Sources, by Archive
Published Primary Sources
Secondary Sources Relating to the British Surveys in India
Principal Secondary Sources

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