Publication of Dr Guido van Meersbergen new book Ethnography and Encounter: The Dutch and English in Seventeenth Century South Asia
The global operations of the East India Companies were profoundly shaped by European perceptions of foreign lands. Providing a cultural perspective absent from existing economic and institutional histories, Ethnography and Encounter is the first book to systematically explore how Company agents’ understandings of and attitudes towards Asian peoples and societies informed institutional approaches to trade, diplomacy, and colonial governance. Its fine-grained comparisons of Dutch and English activities in seventeenth-century South Asia show how corporate ethnography was produced, how it underpinned given modes of conduct, and how it illuminates connections across space and time. Ethnography and Encounter identifies deep commonalities between Dutch and English discourses and practices, their indebtedness to pan-European ethnographic traditions, and their centrality to wider histories of European expansion.