By: David Arnold
312 pages, 8 illus
The Tropics and the Traveling Gaze considers the European representation and understanding of landscape and nature in early nineteenth-century India. It draws on travel narratives, literary texts, and scientific literature to show the diversity of European (especially British) responses to the Indian environment and the ways in which these contributed to the wider colonizing process. Through its close examination of the correlation between tropicality and "otherness," and of science as a means of colonial appropriation, the book offers a new interpretation of the history of colonial India and a critical contribution to the understanding of environmental history and the tropical world. It will be of interest to historians of the environment, science, and colonialism; South Asianists; and cultural and environmental anthropologists and geographers.
The Tropics and the Traveling Gaze is an insightful study of the changing ways Britons (and other Europeans) responded to and described India during the first half of the nineteenth century. The author's interpretations are original and challenging, and the fine research and extensive reference notes make Arnold's argument convincing. Michael H. Fisher, Robert S. Danforth Professor of History, Oberlin College "This book will become a valuable text in the field of environmental humanities, as well as for students of postcolonial literature and for the wide field of cultural studies. The elegant narrative is written in a clear and lucid style, sprinkled with wry and understated humor, and sensitive to the personal tragedies of many of the travelers through whose perspectives David Arnold evokes nineteenth-century Indian landscapes." K. Sivaramakrishnan, University of Washington "Arnold's discussion of the relationship between botanizing nature and travelers' perceptions is a new and thoughtful reworking of some well-known and some relatively untapped sources. For anyone with an interest in the issues of colonial knowledges, imperial projects, and the natural world." Mahesh Rangarajan, author of India's Wildlife History: An Introduction "In The Tropics and the Traveling Gaze, David Arnold deftly untangles and analyses the nature of the connections between literary representations of the land, the development of botanical knowledge and the consolidation of colonial power."--Times Literary Supplement, June 22 2007
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