The Cult of Imperial Honor in British India by S. Patterson

The Cult of Imperial Honor in British India

byS. Patterson

Hardcover | May 22, 2009

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What was imperial honor and how did it sustain the British Raj? If  “No man may harm me with impunity” was an ancient theme of the European aristocracy, British imperialists of almost all classes in India possessed a similar vision of themselves as overlords belonging to an honorable race, so that ideals of honor condoned and sanctified their rituals, connecting them with status, power, and authority.  Honor, most broadly, legitimated imperial rule, since imperialists ostensibly kept India safe from outside threats. Yet at the individual level, honor kept the “white herd” together, providing the protocols and etiquette for the imperialist, who had to conform to the strict notions of proper and improper behavior in a society that was always obsessed with maintaining its dominance over India and Indians. Examining imperial society through the prism of honor therefore opens up a new methodology for the study of British India.     

About The Author

Steven Patterson is Assistant Professor of History at Lambuth University in Jackson, TN. He has previously published articles and book reviews in The Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, Patterns of Prejudice, and on H-net. In 2007, he was recognized with the Billie P. Exum Outstanding Educator Award at Lambuth, which is prese...
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Details & Specs

Title:The Cult of Imperial Honor in British IndiaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:276 pages, 8.5 × 5.51 × 0 inPublished:May 22, 2009Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan USLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230612873

ISBN - 13:9780230612877

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Table of Contents

Introduction * The Cult and Maintenance of Honor * A Middle-Class Method: Building the Steel Frame of the Raj * Queen of the Earth: An Empire of Honor * The Bungalow: A Clearing in the Jungle

Editorial Reviews

“One of the strengths of this book is that it expands the fields of race, gender, and class analysis, with which most new imperial historians preoccupy themselves, to a new category that influenced Britons in India. Another marked strength is the sophisticated development of theory that helps build a base for the argument of the book. This book has an impressive source base that includes several primary sources and oral interviews in addition to major secondary sources. A delight to read.”—H-Albion“Patterson’s examination of masculinity and male codes of honor (racial, legal, and social) as a central element underpinning the British Raj ads significantly to scholarship on gender and imperial rule, as well as metropolitan Victorian and Edwardian British society. He eloquently unpacks the “white man’s burden,” showing how central maleness was to racial superiority, and how each was maintained through the specific norms and institutions of the Raj. His brisk prose delights as he marshals the latest theoretical and empirical literature, along with revealing an array of new sources for uncovering the interstices of whiteness and civility, honor and power, disclosing the micropolitics of force behind gentlemanly virtue.”--Jonathan Judaken, author of Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question and editor of Naming Race, Naming Racisms, Associate Professor of modern European cultural and intellectual history at the University of Memphis"This book provides a better understanding of how aristocratic ideas and behavior, most notably those associated with the many meanings of honor, made the Raj for Anglo-Indians and British officials more comprehensible and workable, often ironically in the case of those with little if any association with such an aristocracy. That irony helps provide a refreshingly new approach to the study of Anglo-Indians and the other white rulers of nineteenth- and twentieth-century British India. In doing so, it will also be of assistance to students of imperialism and colonialism in general, as aristocratic adaptations and references to 'character' were not unique to the British or to the Raj."--Peter H. Hoffenberg, Associate Professor of History, University of Hawai’i, Manoa"Steven Patterson's thoughtful and perceptive study shows how Anglo-Indian society's lingering, if attenuated, code of honor sustained the increasingly beleaguered imperial authority of the British Raj.  This book is a valuable and timely addition to the rich scholarship on imperial culture."--Abraham Kriegel, Professor of History, University of Memphis