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Landscape, Race, and Power on the Indo-Afghan Frontier, c.1840-c.1880

Lally, J; (2020) Landscape, Race, and Power on the Indo-Afghan Frontier, c.1840-c.1880. South Asian History and Culture , 11 (3) pp. 277-299. 10.1080/19472498.2020.1797358. Green open access

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Abstract

Landscape defined a problem of colonial rule on the nineteenth-century Indo-Afghan frontier, connected, as it was, to contemporary ideas about difference, novelly articulated in racial terms. This connection was the product of numerous developments, drawing on Enlightenment ideas about race and development and on historical analogy with the late eighteenth-century Scottish Highlands, as well as the nineteenth-century ethnographic inquiry linking geographic isolation with racial preservation or descent. These ‘noble savages’ were also more likely to fall under the spell of charismatic Sufi leaders, spurring them to fierce resistance of political authority and acts of violence, and earning them a reputation for ‘fanaticism’. Landscape also presented a problem for the expression of colonial power; for the ruggedness and remoteness of the frontier made the expatriate population vulnerable in an area where the colonial presence remained thin and where criminal prosecution could be easily evaded. The consequence was the Frontier Crimes Regulation, which devolved authority for the prosecution of crime and execution of justice to the heads of tribal societies according to local custom, and the Murderous Outrages Act, which empowered colonial officers to suspend due judicial process and order anachronistic and morally abhorrent forms of punishment. Just as ideas about race were ambivalent and contradictory, so, too, was colonial law.

Type: Article
Title: Landscape, Race, and Power on the Indo-Afghan Frontier, c.1840-c.1880
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/19472498.2020.1797358
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/19472498.2020.1797358
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Crime, ethnography, fanatic, murder, law, Pashtun
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10105322
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