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From Plunder to PreservationBritain and the Heritage of Empire, c.1800–1940$
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Astrid Swenson and Peter Mandler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265413

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265413.001.0001

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Appropriation to Supremacy

Appropriation to Supremacy

Ideas of the ‘Native’ in the Rise of British Imperial Heritage

(p.149) 7 Appropriation to Supremacy
From Plunder to Preservation

Sujit Sivasundaram

British Academy

This chapter studies a particular moment in the emergence of the idea of the ‘native’ in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. By considering the role played by Pacific islanders, Asians, and Africans in defining territorial identities, bonds of attachment to rulers, and patterns of settlement prior to contact with colonists, it argues that the ‘native’ emerged partly out of extant traditions. The British empire recontextualized mutating extant senses of culture in global maps of heritage and thus minted a new sense of the ‘native’. Throughout this process, what appears is not an unproblematic concept of the ‘native’ or ‘indigenous’, but a notion of how claims of a separate heritage arose in contexts of hybridity and creolization.

Keywords:   native, voyages of exploration, Orientalism, Pacific, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, South Africa

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