Nile Green, Bombay Islam. The Religious Economy of the West Indian Ocean, 1840–1915, Cambridge University Press, 2013, 344 p.
As a thriving port city, nineteenth-century Bombay attracted migrants from across India and beyond. Nile Green’s Bombay Islam traces the ties between industrialization, imperialism, and the production of religion to show how Muslim migration from the oceanic and continental hinterlands of Bombay in this period fueled demand for a wide range of religious suppliers, as Christian missionaries competed with Muslim religious entrepreneurs for a stake in the new market. Enabled by a colonial policy of non-intervention in religious affairs, and powered by steam travel and vernacular printing, Bombay’s Islamic productions were exported as far as South Africa and Iran. Connecting histories of religion, labour, and globalization, the book examines the role of ordinary people – mill hands and merchants – in shaping the demand that drove the market. By drawing on hagiographies, travelogues, doctrinal works, and poems in Persian, Urdu, and Arabic, Bombay Islam unravels a vernacular modernity that saw people from across the Indian Ocean drawn into Bombay’s industrial economy of enchantment.
Daniel Marston, The Indian Army and the End of the Raj, Cambridge UNiversity Press, 2014, 397 p.
The Partition of British India in 1947 resulted in the establishment of the independent states of India and Pakistan and the end of the British Raj. The decision to divide British India along religious lines led to widespread upheaval and communal violence in the period leading up to and following the official day of independence, 15 August 1947. In this book, Daniel Marston provides a unique examination of the role of the Indian army in post-World War II India. He draws upon extensive research into primary source documents and interviews with veterans of the events of 1947 to provide fresh insight into the vital part that the Indian Army played in preserving law and order in the region. This rigorous book fills a significant gap in the historiography of the British in India and will be invaluable to those studying the British Empire and South Asia more generally.
Min Ye, Diasporas and Foreign Direct Investment in China and India, Cambridge University Press, 2014
This book offers a comparative and historical analysis of foreign direct investment (FDI) liberalization in China and India and explains how the return of these countries’ diasporas affects such liberalization. It examines diasporic investment from Western FDIs and finds that diasporas, rather than Western nations, have fueled globalization in the two Asian giants. In China, diasporas contributed the lion’s share of FDI inflows. In India, returned diasporas were bridges for, and initiators of, Western investment at home. Min Ye illustrates that diasporic entrepreneurs helped to build China into the world’s manufacturing powerhouse and that Indian diasporas facilitated their homeland’s success in software services development.
Lucy Eldersveld Murphy, Great Lakes Creoles. A French-Indian Community on the Northern Borderlands, Prairie du Chien, 1750–1860, Cambridge University Press, 2014, 326 p.
A case study of one of America’s many multi-ethnic border communities, Great Lakes Creoles builds upon recent research on gender, race, ethnicity, and politics as it examines the ways that the old fur trade families experienced and responded to the colonialism of United States expansion. Lucy Murphy examines Indian history with attention to the pluralistic nature of American communities and the ways that power, gender, race, and ethnicity were contested and negotiated in them. She explores the role of women as mediators shaping key social, economic, and political systems, as well as the creation of civil political institutions and the ways that men of many backgrounds participated in and influenced them. Ultimately, The Great Lakes Creoles takes a careful look at Native people and their complex families as active members of an American community in the Great Lakes region.