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    France

    Hodges, Lenny (2018) France. In: Pettigrew, W.A. and Veevers, D. (eds.) The Corporation as a Protagonist in Global History, c. 1550-1750. Global Economic History Series 16. Brill, pp. 290-300. ISBN 9789004387812.

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    Abstract

    Leonard Hodges explores early modern French chartered companies, and their role in transporting state sovereignty abroad. He argues that historians have traditionally arranged Dutch, British, and French overseas corporations on a sliding scale between private and state control. The Dutch are typically seen as running first and foremost a business organisation overseas, while French overseas enterprises barely rank above the Portuguese as appendixes of the state. The often-unspoken assumption is that the British sit serendipitously somewhere in the ‘Goldilocks zone’ between these extremes. Insofar as the metropolitan context is concerned, it is impossible to overlook the long shadow of the state in the organisation of the French East India Company, for example. Hodges suggests that rather than limiting ourselves to metropolitan perspectives, it is crucial to set the French East India Company more firmly in its Indian context. One of the most enduring puzzles of the French Company is how, under its aegis, the French engaged in a dress rehearsal for empire-building in the Carnatic and Hyderabad, setting the stage for the eventually more successful British intervention in Bengal. In return for military support provided to Indian rulers, for a brief period the French gained the right to raise revenue across large swathes of territory and wielded the trappings of Mughal sovereignty, with many individuals making significant personal fortunes. In this respect, the idea of the corporation as a protagonist in global history is to be especially welcomed in offering the chance to reframe a largely outdated historiography on the French East India Company’s role in imperial expansion.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Book Section
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
    Depositing User: Lenny Hodges
    Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2022 13:14
    Last Modified: 12 Jul 2022 23:17
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/48360

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