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INTRODUCTION

In 1782, two regiments of the army of the Electorate of Hanover with approximately two thousand soldiers sailed from England to India, where they served as auxiliary troops for the British East India Company in the Second Anglo-Mysore War. They participated in one significant battle, the Battle of Cuddalore, in June 1783, after which they served in various missions, including an expedition to the southern parts of the Carnatic and into Mysore in the latter half of 1783. After the war the two regiments stayed in India, mainly in garrison duties. They were also engaged in survey missions and contributed to the mapping of southern India. Due to heavy disease casualties, the two regiments were reinforced by four new companies in 17867 so that altogether 2,800 soldiers were sent from Hanover to India. They stayed there until 17912, when most of the survivors returned home and many of them reintegrated into the Hanoverian Army. Returning officers soon became involved in a new war against France, and many of them joined the Kings German Legion, continuing their military cooperation with the British until 1815. Yet the subject of this book is not the military history of this expedition, which was admittedly marginal to Hanover, India and the British Empire, but the publications of officers from these Hanoverian regiments that appeared in Germany between 1782 and 1807, and how these publications can be used to gain a better understanding of the German discourse on European colonialism, especially British colonialism in India, during the late Enlightenment. Officers of the Hanoverian regiments began publishing texts on their experiences in India before returning to Germany, in fact even before arriving in India. A significant number of their letters were published in the Hannoverisches Magazin and other popular German periodicals. Their publication indicates Hanovers interest in the fate of the expedition, but also in information about India. After returning from India, two officers, Ludwig von Scharnhorst and Carl Conrad Best, published travel books, and one of the chaplains of the expedition, Friedrich Ludwig Langstedt, became a professional author and translator of books related to travel, world trade and natural history, specializing in India. In addition, two manuscript documents by two of the officers proved useful: a military survey of southern India, prepared by Karl August Schlegel, the elder

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brother of August Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel who were both among the pioneers of German Indology; and a report written by the officer Joseph du Plat. The publications and manuscripts of the Hanoverian officers are interesting not because of their influence on the German discourse and the information they contributed, which were both minor, but rather because of the place they take in the general picture of German writing and publishing about India in the late Enlightenment. Because these works belonged to different genres, they allow us to examine how information about India was being processed in different degrees of sophistication and theorizing. The main strategy of this book is to follow the way the material on India changed while moving between the two axes of experience and theory, beginning with journal articles and moving through to travel books and their reception, followed by analysis of works of history and philosophy of history in which the same or similar historical events were examined. The main analytical perspective is the attitude to British colonialism and Indian society in terms of politics and war rather than religion and culture, since the former were the aspects with which the authors were more familiar. Although most authors also wrote about Hinduism, what they had to say on the political and military circumstances was more interesting since these were topics that stood at the centre of their activity in India. In this sense, this work also contributes to the reaction against the scholarly emphasis on the German fascination with Hinduism and Sanskrit texts at the expense of contemporary India. It continues Gita Dharampal-Fricks important work on early modern German sources on India which covered the period 1500 1750, and argues that many continuities may be established between the second half of the eighteenth century and the earlier period. Among these are the continuing interest in contemporary India and the relative openness German travellers showed to Indians, compared to the members of colonial nations and especially compared to the imperialist attitudes of the nineteenth century.1 The second half of the eighteenth century was a period of transition to modernity, defined by Reinhart Koselleck as a Sattelzeit (saddle period).2 That process was accelerated after 1780. The significance of the changes after 1780 for British colonialism in India has been highlighted by many historians, above all by Christopher Bayly, who stated that modern British imperialism was born in 1780 and went through an important period of transition between that date and 1830.3 As Gabriel Motzkin has emphasized, the Sattelzeit could not have been defined as a period of transition if it did not display many continuities with its immediate past.4 The interaction of continuity and change in the understanding of aspects of Indian society and politics by German authors plays a central role in the discussions that follow. Another important perspective is the relationship between the German texts on all levels and British texts. British texts were the most important source available to German observers for information on India, and even the Hanoverian

Introduction

officers drew much of their understanding of India from British informants, both in written and oral form. Therefore comparisons with British discourses appear very often throughout the book. In this sense the work corresponds with Russell Bermans Enlightenment or Empire which highlighted the tense relationship between the German discourse on colonialism and its British sources of inspiration.5 I would argue that German intellectuals strove in the direction of Aufhebung in the Hegelian sense6 of their dependency upon British sources and this was achieved in the German Indology of the nineteenth century that was both inspired by and brought the liberation from British sources. The heavy debt of early German Indology to British Orientalism has been demonstrated in many scholarly works, starting with Raymond Schwabs groundbreaking Oriental Renaissance.7 Edward Saids claim that what German Oriental scholarship did was to refine and elaborate techniques whose application was to texts, myths, ideas, and languages almost literally gathered from the Orient by imperial Britain and France, is certainly correct.8 The emphasis should be on the words refine and elaborate, rather than invent or introduce, indicating that German Orientalism profited not only from the texts provided by British Orientalists but also from their methodological innovations. On the other hand, Saids more fundamental claim that the function of German Orientalism was to serve European imperialism in creating a kind of intellectual authority over the Orient within Western culture is hotly debated, and Said is justly criticized for ignoring the specific German context.9 The most recent significant challenge to Saids approach is Suzanne Marchands German Orientalism, which emphasizes the role of religious and internal political concerns in German Orientalism.10 Yet this book is not primarily focused on German Orientalism, but on the German colonial discourse of the eighteenth century. Bermans book belongs to a small but growing body of work in this field. The most important piece of scholarship in this field is Susanne Zantops Colonial Fantasies, which has profoundly influenced my work.11 Zantop and Berman have opposing approaches. Berman argues that German intellectuals were often more open to non-European cultures than their British counterparts because they did not feel committed to national interests;12 Gita Dharampal-Frick also believes German writing on India was less committed to colonial interests and she also highlights the critical attitude of certain German intellectuals such as Matthias Christian Sprengel and Georg Forster.13 Zantop argues that the colonial critique that was often voiced by German writers was in fact part of their colonial fantasies and reflected the desire to participate in the colonial enterprise at least in theory, while on the other hand German intellectuals participated in the cultural construction of European domination and prepared the emergence of real German imperialism in the late nineteenth century. Jrg Esleben has shown this ambivalence in the case of Forster.14 Jrgen Osterhammel represents a third approach that does

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not see any difference between the attitudes of Germans and other Europeans to non-European cultures.15 A similar approach to that of Osterhammel can be seen in two very different books that discuss the attitudes of European intellectuals, among them Germans, to non-European cultures without paying attention to their national origin. Sankar Muthu wrote an excellent analysis of the philosophical background of the radical critique of European colonialism in the work of Denis Diderot, Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottfried Herder without referring to the fact that the colonial critique of Kant and Herder was directed at nations other than their own, a circumstance that, as Zantop has shown, was especially significant for Herder.16 Mary Louise Pratt, on the other hand, wrote an influential work on imperial travel writing, treating Alexander von Humboldt as an important representative of northern European imperialism without reference to his origin from a nation without colonies.17 Pratts volume introduced the important concepts of contact zone and anti-conquest, which have been useful for my own work, and I also agree with Osterhammels characterization of the eighteenth century as a period in which European intellectuals were much more open to Asian civilizations and had not yet lost interest in Asias contemporary societies as they did in the nineteenth century. But in my work I emphasize the national context of both the Hanoverian officers in India and the German authors on India at home. One recent work that is similar to my own in this respect is Kate Marshs India in the French Imagination, which highlights the specific French concerns in representing India in the late eighteenth century.18 Marsh has argued that the French discourse was influenced by the acute sense of the loss of French colonial possessions in India. The position of Germans was quite different, since there was no German colonial enterprise and no German political nation, while on the other hand there was a significant participation of Germans in the colonial enterprises of other European nations. Chapter 1 of this book offers a comprehensive review of this participation and suggests that it represented another aspect of what has been termed the hybrid nature of colonialism. Homi Bhabha characterizes the culture of colonialism as hybrid in order to decentralize it, to criticize the image of the culture of colonialism as radiating from a metropolitan centre onto the colonies, emphasizing the crucial role of the colonies and of colonized peoples in producing the culture of colonialism, in fact in producing the culture of modernity as a whole.19 Historians of overseas trading companies apply the term hybridity to characterize at least two fundamental features of these companies: first, the fact that they were both commercial companies aiming at the greatest possible profit and political agencies, representing the interests of a state which granted them extended privileges of sovereignty such as the right to recruit an army, conduct war, make treaties with local powers and control and administer a territory overseas; second, these companies, especially the East India companies, were hybrid in that they were

Introduction

both European companies with headquarters in their respective countries of origin, and local organizations, operating in an Asian environment according to its rules, and relying to a large degree on local manpower.20 The participation of Germans in early modern colonialism adds an additional feature of hybridity, because all national colonial establishments relied on a transnational manpower but still strove, to varying degrees, to maintain control by a particular state. German soldiers represented the majority of the armed forces of the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, hereafter VOC) and a very significant portion of the military manpower of its western counterpart, the Dutch West India Company (West-Indische Compagnie, hereafter WIC). There was a large German component in the British armed forces in North America in the Seven Years War and, more famously, in the War of American Independence, in which at least a third of the British armed force was made of German auxiliary troops.21 In India, there was a very significant Swiss and German representation in the British East India Company (EIC) Army in the days of Robert Clive, and they were also present in the French colonial establishment in North America and in India. The position of these Germans and other European foreigners within the colonial establishments was always ambiguous. The position of continental Europeans in the EIC was examined by Maya Jasanoff, who was more interested in French speakers than in Germans.22 While there are many case studies on the participation of Germans in early modern colonialism, especially as VOC servants and on the auxiliary troops in the War of American Independence, a general analysis of the phenomenon is still lacking.23 The Hanoverian expedition to India was treated in a few nineteenth-century works on Hanoverian military history.24 Information on its service in India can also be found in William Wilsons History of the Madras Army.25 Another important group whose publications are discussed below is the German missionaries in southern India. The German missionaries from the Franckesche Institutes in Halle, who operated from their centre in the Danish colony Tranquebar near Madras from 1706 have received much scholarly attention in recent years precisely because they serve to complicate the view of hegemonic European attitude to India. Much of the recent scholarly work on the Halle missionaries is contained in a series of collections of essays, some of which were published towards the 300th anniversary of the establishment of the mission.26 Receiving logistic support from Halle, political protection from the Danish Crown and financial assistance from the British SPCK, this was a truly transnational institution, although almost all of the missionaries were German. While Tranquebar was their first base, they spread to the British territories and had to work with both the British and Danish companies. Their attitude to the colonial establishments was complex. They were dependent on their protection and assistance but tried to preserve their independence, a task that became

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more difficult as the power of the colonial establishments grew. During the eighteenth century their attitude to the Indian civilization also changed. The dialogical approach of Bartholomus Ziegenbalg was weakened and replaced by the more Eurocentric approach of Christoph Samuel John, and although Friedrich Schwarz was engaged in philanthropic work and peace missions, he too had strong ties to the British. In the first half of the eighteenth century the missionary reports, published in the periodical commonly known as Hallesche Berichte,27 were among the most important sources for information on India not just in Germany but in all Europe. The importance of the missionary reports diminished after 1770, as British sources became more important, but it did not disappear until the turn of the century. In the present study the missionaries serve as an important point of reference for the attitudes of the Hanoverian officers because they too were Germans with an ambiguous place in early colonial India. Their attitude resembled that of the Hanoverian officers. As the discussion below will show, in some cases the missionaries had stereotyped perceptions of India that the officers did not reflect. This was related to their being better educated and thus more familiar with general European interpretations of India. David Ludden has argued that much of what is considered to be the Orientalist construction of India was in fact based on European social theories that used India for their own purposes and differed from the kind of knowledge that was created in India itself.28 Ludden referred to the nineteenth-century thinkers James Mill, Georg Wilhelm Hegel, Karl Marx and Max Weber. Michael Dodson has also shown how the Orientalist study that was practised in India in the nineteenth century was ideologically complex and even contradictory, and was not only a tool of colonial rule.29 This distinction can also be shown for the German discourse on India in the eighteenth century, with the role of the pragmatic observers being played not just by the German missionaries from Halle but also by the Hanoverian officers. The position of the Hanoverian troops in India was especially complex because of the personal union between Britain and Hanover. The connections between Britain and Hanover have received considerable attention in recent years, especially from British historians who treated the personal union as an important aspect of the multiple connections between Britain and continental Europe. Stephen Conway wrote on the political, cultural, economic, scientific and military connections between Britain and Europe, with Hanover representing only one of these connections. While Hanovers economic ties with Britain were rather weak, they were strong in all other spheres, but not always unique.30 Brandan Simms and Andrew Thompson wrote on British foreign policy, a sphere in which Hanovers role was central. Simms highlights the significance of Hanover for the construction of British national identity against a European Other that was not only French, but he also stresses the strong ties that lead him, to a

Introduction

certain degree, to see Britain and Hanover as single state.31 Thompson focuses on the aspect of the Protestant interest, a central concept for British foreign policy especially in the first half of the eighteenth century, and shows that this was also important for Hanoverian policymakers.32 Nick Harding wrote on the notion of Hanover as part of the British Empire.33 This scholarship was written as a counterargument to the emphasis on Britains imperial, especially North American, connections, as discussed by Kathleen Wilson, and Linda Colleys focus on the construction of British national identity as insular and anti-French.34 My discussion of this scholarship emphasizes the distinction between Hanover and Britain, without denying that the connections were multiple and significant. I argue that Hanoverians did not identify themselves with the British Empire and were rather suspicious of it, fearing the exploitation of Hanover for British colonial interests. Even the cultural connections and the celebrated Hanoverian Anglophilia should not be exaggerated. The Hanoverian officers who joined the expedition to India did so for personal motives and did not regard their service as being rendered to the king. As the discussion of their letters in Chapter 2 shows, they saw themselves as temporary mercenaries of the EIC but retained a strong sense of belonging to their regiments, and they intended to return to Germany as part of these regiments. This was especially true for the officers. Their attitude was very similar to that of the German auxiliary troops in North America. The tradition of military cooperation with Britain played a significant role, but it was not stronger than among the German troops in North America who also had a similar tradition without a personal union. Some officers had strong connections with Britain through relatives in the Hanoverian representation in London but others did not, and knowledge of English was not widespread. There was, however, a process of identification of the Hanoverian officers with the British colonial establishment. Here I follow Frederick Coopers warning against the inflated use of the term identity in colonial studies and the problems related to its use. Cooper suggests the use of the term identification, implying a process, rather than identity, which implies something more stable and essential. He distinguishes between relational identification, which results from a network of connections and relationships, and categorical identification, resulting from one basic attribute such as language or nation. He also distinguishes between formal identifications, imposed by a legal authority, and informal identification that can be either self-identification or outside identification, created by others.35 The officers of the Hanoverian regiments could identify with the British officers with whom they served, especially with the officers of the royal regiments, with whom they shared a common social and cultural background. They could identify with the EIC as their temporary employer. They identified with the armed forces they served against Mysore and the French. In addition, they shared the identification as Europeans that was

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imposed on them by the company in distinction to sepoys. While the lack of knowledge of English distinguished them from the British, they later felt that English was the best way to communicate with the outside world given their greater difficulties in learning Indian languages, although some of them did try and partly succeeded in communicating with Indians in their languages. All of these were identifications that tended to grow during their service in India. Yet they also maintained their identification with their regiments, as is indicated by the fact that almost all officers and most of the soldiers chose to return home when their service ended rather than join the EIC. They also had a linguistic and cultural identification as Germans, indicated by the frequent mention of encounters with other Germans. The main concern of Chapter 2 is the discussion of the images of India in the letters that the officers sent to Germany. These letters were part of maintaining their identification with Hanover and Germany. The letters published in the Hannoverisches Magazin and its successor Neues Hannoversches Magazin, especially, were part of an important channel of communication between the officers and their home communities. The officers informed relatives and friends of their well-being in India, and at the same time let the community become part of a larger world. They allowed the local community to take part in the enterprise of getting to know the world, which was an important component of the culture of the late Enlightenment. The significance of the press for the Enlightenment has been emphasized by Jrgen Habermas.36 Many letters were published in the Politisches Journal, one of the most important political periodicals in Germany, thus making them not just a local affair. For their analysis, the letters are compared with three corpuses of discourse on India: the British discourse, especially that of the British in India; the discourse on India in German periodicals in general; and the reports of the German missionaries. The British discourse was extensive and has received substantial scholarly treatment. Recent work emphasizes the complexity and heterogeneity of the British writing on India. Much of it concerned the hot debate on the policy and practices of the EIC, with views on the Indians often dependent upon the attitude to the EIC, although there were also some general conventions that usually did not differ from those of the general European educated public. An important observation of much recent work is that British discourse on India did not always equal Orientalism in the Saidian sense of an ideology that creates sharp distinctions between Europe and Asia. Especially in the eighteenth century it was much more empirical, dialogical and open.37 I have analysed the letters of the Hanoverian officers along the major tropes of caste division, Oriental despotism, Indian effeminacy, Indian depravity, attitudes to the Mysore rulers Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan and attitudes to Indian military and the sepoys, and in addition tried to establish their stand in the debate on Company policy. The Hanoverians were dependent upon

Introduction

British interpretations of the situation in India, and much of what they say corresponds to common British views. They did, however, tend to avoid the more aggressive of the British views and some of the common British tropes are absent from their writing. Surprisingly, the Hanoverian officers almost never referred to the debate on Company policy. That they avoided critique of the Company could result from censorship or personal apprehensions, although many letters were published anonymously in the Politisches Journal that did not avoid critique of the Company coming from British parliamentary sources. But personal apprehensions and censorship could not explain the absence of defence of the Company or even almost any reference to the existence of a debate. The manuscript letter that survived also did not refer to the debate on Company practices. These findings seem to establish the neutral position the Hanoverian officers took regarding the war and the colonial situation in general. Here the Hanoverian officers differed sharply from the German auxiliary troops in North America, among whom support for the kings cause was widespread both in published and unpublished letters and journals. Most scholars agree that the German troops there supported the royalist cause because they could not understand American notions of political liberty and rights that differed sharply from the political culture of their German principalities. But the difference between the position of the Hanoverians in India and the Hessians in America appears to lie rather in the absence of an acute ideological debate in Germany on British colonialism in India and on the Hanoverian expedition itself, while the American Revolution and the German participation in the war were hotly debated in Germany. My analysis of the reports on India in German periodicals shows that they were relatively scarce compared to European and even American affairs, but nevertheless Indian contemporary and political issues occupied a more significant place than is usually thought due to the association of the German interest in India with the history of Indology. The closing decades of the eighteenth century were characterized by the growing domination of British sources, but German sources were still important. The most significant German sources on India were the missionary reports, followed by the reports of the Hanoverian officers in the 1780s. The reports of the Hanoverian officers were especially important for information on the Second Anglo-Mysore War. Their importance lay in supplying information from non-British sources. Journal editors struggled with the growing British monopoly on information from India and tried to bypass it by turning to French or occasional Indian sources, albeit these were always themselves supplied by either the British or the French and served the political purposes of the rival European powers. The growing dependence on British sources led to the circumstance that although editors accepted critique of British colonialism in India, often coming from British sources, as self-evident, they also tended to accept official British representations of military events. Reports on the cruel treatment

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of British captives in Mysore were highlighted by German journal editors. Clichs of Indian effeminacy and Indian cowardice appeared much more often in general reports on India than in the reports of the Hanoverian officers. Thus the coverage of India in German periodicals was a mirror image of the reports of the Hanoverian officers. It contained much more criticism of British colonialism, but also much more of the stereotypical images that tended to legitimize colonialism. The reports of the Hanoverian officers thus differed from the British discourse in India to a small degree, but they differed much more from the German discourse on India as it was represented in periodicals. In both cases the difference resulted from greater openness and immediate contact to events in the contact zone and from much smaller ideological commitment and theorization. Chapter 3 discusses the travel books written by the officers. During the last three decades there has been a marked increase in scholarly interest in travel literature, and this has been expressed by the establishment of research centres and of academic journals dedicated to travel literature.38 The surge in the interest in travel literature drew its inspiration from several interrelated intellectual developments of the 1970s: the vogue for interdisciplinary studies, the rise of cultural studies with its interest in non-canonical forms of cultural expression, structuralism, poststructuralism and postcolonialism. These developments had varying impacts on different academic cultures. The English-speaking research of travel literature is heavily influenced by postcolonialism and discourse criticism, to the point that it is almost impossible to find a book on travel literature in English that does not refer to the imperial context of travel, or neglects mentioning Saids Orientalism in its introduction, even in studies on British travels in Europe, or in studies seeking to provide a less politicized and more balanced reading of travel literature.39 In one of the more radical formulations of the imperial connection of travel, Helen Gilbert and Anna Johnston wrote: In fact, it is almost impossible to think of travel in any historicized way separately from the various post-Enlightenment imperial projects in which it has been instrumental.40 In the German study of travel literature, colonial and imperial contexts receive much less attention, no doubt due to the late coming of the German colonial empire. In German volumes dedicated to travel, especially eighteenthcentury travel, much more attention is given to European and inner-German experiences, which, as a rule, is not put in a colonial context.41 Studies that deal more substantially with German travels outside Europe do pay substantial attention to the way images of the non-European Other are reflected in this literature, but usually do not lay emphasis on the treatment of these images as a part of a European colonial discourse. Recent studies show the influence of discourse theory by highlighting issues of intertextuality in travel literature, in most cases without putting it in the context of colonial discourse.42

Introduction

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The present study follows the existing scholarship in emphasizing the significance of convention and market expectations for the production of travel books that should be seen as collective enterprises rather than individual creation, but it puts stronger emphasis on the colonial context without losing the German special circumstances. It shows how in the books the representation of India changed according to the level of education of authors and editors and the involvement of editors and publishers. This was also true for Karl August Schlegels manuscript that was not published but was intended for publication. It was strongest in the work of the chaplain Friedrich Ludwig Langstedt, who became a professional travel author whose travel books contained large segments copied from other books. The analysis in this chapter focuses on the way Langstedt transferred Johann Niekamps 1740 digest of the missionary reports into his own text and thus integrated an early eighteenth-century interpretation of India into a new colonial framework that also borrowed extensively from British authors. The chapter also discusses the parallels between Langstedt and Georg Forster, another traveller who became a professional in the field of travel writing, and shows the dialectics of experience and theory in the work of both authors and the implications this had for attitudes to colonialism and colonial ideology. Chapter 4 shows the development of the German discourse on India at the turn of the century through a discussion of the reception of the books published by the officers, showing how by the early nineteenth century, the attitude of the Hanoverian officers to Indian appeared to reviewers too open and unsystematic. The discussion of two adaptations of the story of the Hanoverian expedition in popular literature shows how Eurocentric attitudes were stronger there than in the travel reports. The chapter then departs from the Hanoverians to discuss the evolution of the discourse on India in the historical work of Matthias Christian Sprengel, showing the growing dependency on British sources, and the philosophy of history of Johann Gottfried Herder, who gave German interest in India a new direction. Together, the three sections of the chapter show the development of a more Eurocentric approach, the weakening of the critique of British colonialism, the growing dominance of British sources and their influence on the emerging German Orientalist study of India. The book draws on my previously published articles listed below: German Auxiliary Troops in the British and Dutch East India Companies, in N. Arieli and B. Collins (eds), Transnational Soldiers: Foreign Military Enlistment in the Modern Era (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 3249. The Travel Writer as Translator The Case of Friedrich Ludwig Langstedt, in S. Pickford and A. Martin (eds), Translating Travel Writing in Europe 1750 1850 (London: Routledge, 2012), pp. 13353.

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Deutsche Hilfstruppen in Imperialkriegen 17761808, in T. Bhrer, C. Stachelbeck and D. Walter (eds), Imperialkriege von 1500 bis heute (Paderborn: Schningh, 2011), pp. 34561. Hanoverians, Germans and Europeans: Colonial Identity in Early British India, Central European History, 43:3 (2010), pp. 22138. The Experienced Traveller as a Professional Author: Friedrich Ludwig Langstedt, Georg Forster and Colonialism Discourse in Eighteenth-Century Germany, History: The Journal of the Historical Association, 95:317 (2010), pp. 224. German Voices from British India: Officers of the Hanoverian Regiments in East India Company Service, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 32:2 (2009), pp. 189211. Despotism and Enlightenment: European Images of an Eighteenth-Century Indian Ruler (in Hebrew), Historia: Journal of the Historical Society of Israel, 21 (2008), pp. 529.

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