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Reply to Karin Sillen’s Reflection by Morag Ramsey.
Karin covers many important themes from Cederlöf’s book in her reflection.
Karin’s point about how the empire is the main actor in Cederlöf’s book was interesting because it encouraged me to consider the similarities and differences between Funding an Empire on India’s North-Eastern Frontier, and Marc Cioc’s The Rhine: An Eco Biography. We were introduced to the debate about agency and nature earlier in this masters program, and while the environment is present throughout Cederlöf’s book, it is not always at the forefront of the action. The way in which Cederlöf encourages a more intricate analysis of history that includes climate, environment and natural science into its investigation does not directly deal with the issue of agency, yet complicated and strengthened the historical analysis nonetheless.
Karin’s focus on the relationship between merchants and the environment covered an important point from Cederlöf’s work as well. The fact that human relationship to nature alters and impacts our actions and decisions can easily be ignored to favour large memorable historical events, yet the environment and climate are extremely present in people’s day-to-day lives. As Karin notes, it is also important to consider discrepancies in climate and environment which different regions may have, despite being contained by man made boundaries.
Reply To: 1. Mon 3 Feb: Course intro & India and the Environmental History of Imperialism
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