The seminar will involve a presentation of Dr. Veevers’ book, The Origins of the British Empire in Asia, 1600-1750. The book provides an important, revisionist account of the origins of the British Empire in Asia in the early modern period. David Veevers uncovers a hidden world of transcultural interactions between servants of the English East India Company and the Asian communities and states they came into contact with, revealing how it was this integration of Europeans into non-European economies, states and societies which was central to British imperial and commercial success rather than national or mercantilist enterprise. As their servants skilfully adapted to this rich and complex environment, the East India Company became enfranchised by the eighteenth century with a breadth of privileges and rights – from governing sprawling metropolises to trading customs-free. In emphasising the Asian genesis of the British Empire, this book sheds new light on the foreign frameworks of power which fuelled the expansion of Global Britain in the early modern world.
About the Speaker:
David Veevers is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London, where he teaches and researches on the English East India Company, early modern empire, and global history more broadly. His first book, The Origins of the British Empire in Asia, 1600 – 1750, was published with Cambridge University Press in 2020. He has also co-edited a volume titled The Corporation as a Protagonist in Global History, c1550 – 1750, and has recently signed a book deal with Penguin to write ‘A New History of the British Empire’ from a non-European perspective, focusing on the resilience and resistance of those cultures and states that the British encountered and attempted to colonise, from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Mirage of Empire will be forthcoming in 2023.
The Law Society of Hong Kong has awarded this seminar 1.5 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points.