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India and the British Empire$
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Douglas M. Peers and Nandini Gooptu

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199259885

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199259885.001.0001

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The Material and Visual Culture of British India

The Material and Visual Culture of British India

(p.231) 10 The Material and Visual Culture of British India
India and the British Empire

Christopher Pinney

Oxford University Press

Proposing a sideways move from approaches to the ‘cultural technologies’ of colonialism, which continue to relegate representation to a secondary ‘super-structural’ status, the essay explores a number of case studies that might affirm William Blake's provocation that ‘Empire follows Art’. Investigations of eighteenth-century image flows, debates over the most appropriate imperial architectural styles, photographic controversies around indigo production, and the ‘aesthetic’ nature of Gandhi's political project permit the testing of the trichotomy of ‘transculturation’, ‘purification’, and ‘autonomy’ which, it is suggested, may offer a nuanced alternative to the dichotomies established by the debates around Edward Said's Orientalism. Three final examples are intended to illustrate the proposal that the study of visual and material modalities points towards what might most productively be considered to be an alternative mode of historiography.

Keywords:   visual culture, material culture, transculturation, purification, mimesis, photography

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