ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Tirthankar RoySubscribe to Tirthankar Roy

Empire, Law and Economic Growth

This article explores three concepts in global history - empire, law and economic growth - and their coming closer together to form a new discourse. Two recent tendencies contribute to the making of the discourse. Imperial history moves away from a view of empires as extractive machines towards a view of empires as legislating states. Economic history, on the other hand, underscores the role of legislation as a foundation for modern economic growth. Law, then, is the new bridge between empire and economic growth. Does this idea help us understand Indian history?

Law and Nationalism

India in the Shadows of Empire: A Legal and Political History 1774-1950 by Mithi Mukherjee (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2010; pp xxxviii + 278, Rs 695.

Morris David Morris (1921-2011)

A tribute to Morris David Morris, the American economic historian of India, who died earlier this month.

Partners in Knowing

Orientalism, Empire and National Culture - India, 1770-1880 by Michael S Dodson (New Delhi: Foundation Books), 2010; pp xvi+268, Rs 395.

The Madras School of Orientalism: Producing Knowledge in Colonial South India edited by Thomas R Trautmann (Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2009; pp x+334, Rs 875.

Rethinking Collectives

David Ludden’s review of Company of Kinsmen (EPW, 22 May) uses my book to voice a criticism of analytical economic history. The criticism illustrates the diffi culty that historians often encounter in dealing with communities and their role in history.

Globalisation: The Big Picture

Globalisation: The big Picture Tirthankar Roy an unresolved debate. Was Islam the cause of European isolation? On the contrary, it has been argued, the materially more advanced Arab world stimulated alternative trading worlds and trade-routes in the This is a magnificent book, written by two eminent economic historians, presenting an outline of world trade and economic change in the last one thousand years. Although trade is the centre of the narrative, the book is by no means a conventional account of goods and destinations. The interest of the book is in the forces working for and those working against economic integration of large regions, the means of such integration, and its consequences for the peoples engaged in exchange. As one would expect, over one thousand years, these forces, means, and consequences did not remain invariant. Shock factors played a large role too. And yet, the ebbs and flows in the long history of globalisation were not randomly generated. There were turning points, and there were recurring patterns. The book combines an impressive and always sensitive reading of a very large historical scholarship with an economist

A Grand Synthesis

How did the peasant society of south Asia respond and adjust to the political, ecological, and commercial changes that the region witnessed since the 18th century? A new book offers a unifying perspective on this enduring question in economic and social history.

World History in Statistics

The World Economy by Angus Maddison; Development Centre Studies, Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, Indian edition published by Academic Foundation, New Delhi, 2007

Labour Institutions, Japanese Competition, and the Crisis of Cotton Mills in Interwar Mumbai

India and Japan were leading centres of the cotton textile mill industry in the interwar world, thanks to a significant wage advantage they shared over their Atlantic rivals. Mills in India found it hard to deal with competition from Japan until protective tariffs came to their rescue. Several contemporaries attributed the outcome to the industriousness of the workers, and one viewpoint held the mode of labour organisation in the Indian mills to be responsible for high labour turnover and neglect of training. The paper discusses this perspective and suggests that the theme of labour organisation has enduring relevance for the study of comparative industrialisation.

Culture and Economic History

Understanding the Process of Economic Change by Douglass C North

Roots of Agrarian Crisis in Interwar India

Agricultural growth declined in interwar India, intensifying poverty and weakening prospects for industrialisation. Historical scholarship explains poor agricultural growth mainly in terms of adverse institutions, a hypothesis that fails to account for the much better growth rates in pre-war India. A contemporary discourse suggesting the presence of environmental constraints on investment in agriculture, and sustainability of extensive growth, supplies a better account of economic history. It can also connect the past with the present, when sustainability concerns have returned.

Fashioning Development

Fashioning Development Developing India: An Intellectual and Social History by Benjamin Zachariah; Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2005;
TIRTHANKAR ROY The book seeks to understand the rhetoric of development in India fashioned around the inter-war period. It does not claim to be a complete account, rather selects from some of the main strands. What holds a large part of the raw material together is a concern with colonialism as a vehicle of change, a desire to qualify


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