This essay discusses how the idea of colonial science gained cultural dominance during the early 1850s. It explores the visual construction of a ‘tribal’ identity amongst Santals in the Rajmahal Hills of Bengal (now Jharkhand State) by Walter Stanhope Sherwill, a revenue surveyor and geologist working with the British East India Company. In the article I argue that Sherwill constructed a representational framework that would subordinate these new inhabitants of the Damin-i-Koh, itself a colonial district invented to ‘improve’ (according to utilitarian ideology) the forested frontier that came between the Company and its de-territorializing mission. The article focuses on the discursive production of colonial scientific authority in 1851, a pivotal year in terms of the increased visibility of ‘India’ in Britain. I develop an understanding of the processes through which the Rajmahal Hills and its Santal population were enframed within imperial discourses of de-territorialization.
|Title of host publication||The British Empire and the Natural World: Environmental Encounters in South Asia|
|Editors||Deepak Kumar, Vinita Damodaran, Rohan D'Souza|
|Place of Publication||New Delhi|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Number of pages||25|
|ISBN (Print)||13: 978-0-19-806970-6|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|