Advertisement

Indography pp 133-147 | Cite as

Sick Ethnography

Recording the Indian and the Ill English Body
  • Jonathan Gil Harris
Chapter
  • 58 Downloads
Part of the Signs of Race book series (SOR)

Abstract

The essays in the first section of Indography have suggested how early modern discourses of the “Indian” are not simply forms of proto-Orientalism or techniques of European power. They are also products of mutually transformative contact zones that worked as much to unsettle as to insist on clear-cut distinctions between “European” and “Indian.” For every instance of early modern Indology that assumed Europe’s primacy and the peripherality of the Indian—such as the fantasies of empty landscapes in New England deftly exfoliated by Thomas Cartelli—we find others that suggest alternative, less rigid forms of relationality. Bindu Malieckal shows how the globally connected cultures of India’s Malabar coast offered the Portuguese an aspirational model of transoceanic resource-sharing; Gina Caison notes how, even as the figure of the absent or lost Indian was the hallmark of a colonial epistemology that justified invasion, it was equally the hallmark of those early English settlers in Roanoke who may have themselves become Indian; Kevin Boettcher considers Virginian commodities that embodied a “vanishing point” between Indian culture and English consumption; Melissa Walter and Karen Robertson variously demonstrate that the task of Indian language acquisition—whether Malayan or Algonquian—transformed Europeans by exposing them to new ways of thinking; and Craig Rustici, drawing on geohumoral theory, shows how tobacco was thought to Indianize the bodies of its English smokers.

Keywords

Racial Identity Foreign Matter East India Company Foreign Element English Colony 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    See Karen Ordahl Kupperman, “Fear of Hot Climates in the Anglo-American Colonial Experience,” William and Mary Quarterly 41 (1984): 223–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), especially Chapter 10, “1730: Becoming-Intense, Becoming-Animal, Becoming Imperceptible…,” 233–309.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Michel de Certeau, “Ethno-Graphy,” in The Writing of History, trans. Tom Conley (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988), 209–243.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    All references are to Jean de Léry, History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil, Otherwise Called America, trans. Janet Whatley (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Greenblatt links Léry’s experience to medieval and early modern physiological accounts of wonder; see Stephen Greenblatt, Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), 14–19. In International Relations and the Problem of Difference (London and New York: Routledge, 2004), 65–73, Naeem Inayatullah and David L. Blaney offer a discussion of Léry’s text focused on embodiment—in this instance cannibalism and the eating of flesh.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    All references to Roe’s journal are to William Foster, ed., The Embassy of Sir Thomas Roe to the Court of the Great Mogul, 1615–19, 2 vols. (London: Hakluyt Society, 1894), and are cited in the main body of the text.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    See Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (London: Hutchinson, 1975), passim. Probably the best extended instance of Geertz’s theatrical anthropology is Negara: The Theatre-State in Nineteenth-Century Bali (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Jyotsna G. Singh, Colonial Narratives/Cultural Dialogues: “Discoveries” of India in the Language of Colonialism (London and New York: Routledge, 1996), Chapter 1.Google Scholar
  9. 15.
    Edmund Scott, An Exact Discourse of the Subtilties, Fashishions [sic], Pollicies, Religion, and Ceremonies of the East Indians (London, 1606), sig. M4. All further references cited in the text. My remarks in this section are developed in greater detail in Jonathan Gil Harris, “Sickening India: On Dislocation and Explosive Enjoyment in Early Modern Travel Writing,” in Placing Michael Neill: Issues of Place in Shakespeare and Early Modern Culture, Shakespearean International Yearbook 13, ed. Jonathan Gil Harris (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2011), 177–197.Google Scholar
  10. 16.
    For discussions of the East India Company’s trade in pepper, see Antony Wild, The East India Company: Trade and Conquest from 1600 (London: Harper Collins, 1999), especially 8–17,Google Scholar
  11. and Niels Steensgaard, “The Growth and Composition of the Long-Distance Trade of England and the Dutch Republic before 1750,” in The Rise of Merchant Empires: Long-Distance Trade in the Early Modern World, 1350–1750, ed. James D. Tracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 102–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 18.
    Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, ed. Thomas P. Roche Jr. and C. Patrick O’Donnell (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979), II.xi.22.5.Google Scholar
  13. 19.
    I discuss Maleger’s relation to syphilis elsewhere; see Jonathan Gil Harris, Foreign Bodies and the Body Politic: Discourses of Social Pathology in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 27–29. Marion Hollings teases out the Indian dimensions of The Faerie Queene in the next chapter of this volume.Google Scholar
  14. 23.
    See Jonathan Gil Harris, “The Smell of Macbeth,” Shakespeare Quarterly 58 (2007): 465–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Jonathan Gil Harris 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Gil Harris

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations