Opening the New Street Almirah: The Properties of Culture in British India

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Abstract

This paper is based on archival documents related to disputes surrounding objects from British India destined for the Great Exhibitions of 1851 and 1862. Disputes emerged around ownership and dispositional control between colonial officials and the original owners as to whether these objects were a loan or gift to the colonial state, a consignment for international trade, or a contribution to the Exhibitions, but were ultimately designated res nullius through theft and misappropriation. In following their contested journeys with an anthropological lens the paper reveals the numerous exchange strategies though which ownership was erased and re-inscribed, thereby providing the colonial state a domain made of ‘res’ or things, through which it could consolidate its sovereignty.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherKing's College London
Pages1-31
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020

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