Page of

The Written World

The Written World

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter One The Written World
Source:
Indian Ink
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226620428.003.0001

The development of various forms of postcolonial theory, drawing most prominently on the work of Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, has provoked a strenuous debate across a broad interdisciplinary field about the relationships between imperial power and the written word. It is questions of the relationship between writing and the written about the world that have engaged both those who have followed Edward Said in attempting to map out the terrain of colonial discourse and the critics who accuse them of mistaking rhetoric for reality. And it is the relationship between power, resistance, and meaning that structures attempts in the wake of the Subaltern Studies group to deconstruct the documentary record of the imperial archive and has animated those who are suspicious of the power of language theories to reveal the full force of colonialism. This book investigates the writing practices of one organization—the English East India Company—over a period of around 200 years during which it was involved both in long-distance trade with Asia and in building an empire in India.

Keywords:   English East India Company, imperial power, written word, resistance, writing, colonialism, trade, Asia, empire, India

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