Chapter

The Work of Empire in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

in Indian Ink

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780226620411
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226620428 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226620428.003.0006
The Work of Empire in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

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This chapter investigates printing and empire in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Bengal. To adapt Walter Benjamin, it sets out the work of empire in the age of mechanical reproduction in order to render problematic what has in an older historiography been seen as the straightforward diffusion from Europe of a portable and useful technology that promised the benefits of the uniform replication of large numbers of copies. Printing was different in India. It was organized in particular ways, and the process and its products had specific meanings in that context. Understanding this also involves questioning the assumption that there was a simple European will to power built into the printing process and its products. This chapter thus examines the details of the relationship between printing and empire.

Keywords: printing; Bengal; Walter Benjamin; empire; mechanical reproduction; technology; India

Chapter.  27811 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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