Other Landscapes: Colonialism and the Predicament of Authority in Nineteenth-century South India

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by Deborah Sutton

Due to the inhospitable climate and vastness of the native population, European settlement of India was never seriously considered apart from in selected upland areas with cooler climates and sparse native populations. One such area was the Nilgiri Hills of South India which, from the early 19th century, saw concerted efforts at European colonization and displacement of the local population as well as an attempt to visualize and recreate an English landscape in the area.

Other Landscapes investigates the interfaces between indigenes, European settlers and the colonial state on the Nilgiri Hills, focusing on land disputes, regulation of land sales, regimes of forest management and ethnographic projects of cultural "preservation". It examines the landscape as it was configured in the Imperial imagination, explores the corruption and manipulation of local administration and argues that rarely, if ever, did official intent correspond to the systems of reform, regulation and invigilation imposed over the local agrarian landscape.

"Sutton’s work is firmly grounded in critical archival reading and remains rigorously empirical throughout. Sutton’s study takes a largely structural approach to a history of domination in the region, and does not dabble much in subaltern studies…" - Ezra Rashkow, Environment and History 19.1

Deborah Sutton is Professor in Modern South Asian History, Lancaster University. 

Publication year: 2009
256 pp / 229mm x 152mm
23 plates
ISBN: 978-87-7694-027-0, Hardback

NIAS Press