Hybrid Knowledge in the Early East India Company World presents a new reading of the English East India Company 1660-1720. It shows how innovative works – covering natural history, ethnography, theology, linguistics, medicine, and agriculture – were created amid early modern struggles for supremacy in Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic.
"With this dazzling work Anna Winterbottom establishes herself as one of the leading historians of science, medicine and scholarship in cross-cultural perspective and points the way forward to global social histories of knowledge. Combining exquisite erudition with remarkable sensitivity to both the violence and contingency of colonial encounters, she transforms our understanding of the early English East India Company's South and East Asian entanglements, leading us beyond company archives out into the worlds of go-betweens and interlopers who trafficked in hybrid knowledge made by the very process of encounter. Through penetrating analysis of natural history, medicine, ethnography, comparative religion, linguistic studies and questions of race and slavery, Winterbottom illuminates the neglected origins of British Orientalism before the eighteenth century. This stunning debut announces a brilliant talent and makes major contributions to the study of science, medicine and scholarship, South and East Asia, and global early modernity."
– James Delbourgo, Rutgers University, USA
Introduction: Patronage and the Politics of Knowledge, 1660-1720
1. Curious Collectors and Infamous Interlopers: Samuel Baron and the EIC settlements in Southeast and East Asia
2. Linguistic Landscapes: Early English studies of Malay
3. Toleration and Translation: English versions of two Hindu texts from Bengal
4. Botanical and Medical Networks: Madras through the collections of two EIC surgeons
5. Bio-prospecting and Experimenting: Producing and Using An Historical Relation of Ceylon
6. Transportation and Transplantation: Slave Knowledge and Company Plantations
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Anna Winterbottom is British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Sussex, UK. She is co-editor of The East India Company and the Natural World and has published several journal articles and book chapters on topics related to the history of science and medicine, the Indian Ocean region, and colonial history.