Mapping an Empire: the Geographical Construction of British India, 1765-1843
- List Price: $42.00
- Binding: Hardcover
- Publisher: University of Chicago Press
- Publish date: 01/01/1997
- ISBN: 9780226184876
- ISBN10: 0226184870
The reshaping of cartographic technologies in Europe into their modern form played a key role in the use of the GTS as an instrument of British cartographic control over India. In analyzing this reconfiguration, Edney undertakes the first detailed, critical analysis of the foundations of modern cartography.
The success of these new techniques in mapping British India depended on the character of the East India Company as a gatherer and controller of information, on its patronage system, and on the working conditions of surveyors in the field. Drawing on a wealth of data from the Company's vast archives, Edney shows how these institutional constraints undermined the GTS and destabilized this high point of Victorian science to the point of reducing it to "cartographic anarchy". Thus, although the GTS served at the time to legitimate British rule in India, its failure can now be seen as a metaphor for British India itself: an outward veneer of imperial potency covering an uncertainand ultimately weak core.