'Low and Licentious Europeans' - White Subalterns in Colonial India (1784-1914)


The present project attempts to write the social history of Europeans of the lower orders in Colonial India. A considerable part of the 'white' population did not fit in with ideal of a ruling elite. Particularly the presence of marginal groups like white criminals, white vagrants and 'loafers' and white prostitutes posed a serious threat to colonial claims of racial and moral superiority. By deporting unwelcome individuals belonging to these classes or segregating them into 'white' jails and workhouses the British tried to hide the disrespectable part of the 'ruling race' away from the eyes of the 'native ' population.

By reconstructing the history of these groups the project challenges received notions tof a clear cut dichotomy between rulers and ruled according to the colour-line.

The present project attempts to write the social history of Europeans of the lower orders in Colonial India. A considerable part of the 'white' population did not fit in with ideal of a ruling elite. Particularly the presence of marginal groups like white criminals, white vagrants and 'loafers' and white prostitutes posed a serious threat to colonial claims of racial and moral superiority. By deporting unwelcome individuals belonging to these classes or segregating them into 'white' jails and workhouses the British tried to hide the disrespectable part of the 'ruling race' away from the eyes of the 'native ' population.

By reconstructing the history of these groups the project challenges received notions tof a clear cut dichotomy between rulers and ruled according to the colour-line.

Principal Investigators
Fischer-Tiné, Harald Dr. phil. (Details) (Cultures and Societies of South Asia)

Duration of Project
Start date: 01/2001
End date: 12/2005

Publications
H. Fischer-Tine, The greatest blot on British rule in the East, Weißer Sklavenhandel und die britische Kolonialherrschaft in Indien (ca. 1870 1920), in: Comparativ. Leipziger Beiträge zur Universalgeschichte und vergleichenden Gesellschaftsforschung, 13 (6), 2003

H. Fischer-Tine, 'White Women degrading themselves to the lowest depths' - European Networks of Prostitution and Colonial Anxieties in British India ca. 1870-1914, in: Indian Economic and Social History Review (2) 2003, pp. 163-190. ;

Last updated on 2020-10-03 at 16:39