Lecture by Noelle Richardson

11 October 2022 - 15:30 — 11 October 2022 - 18:00

“Industrious gentiles: Hindu merchants and middlemen in the Portuguese Estado da Índia, c. 1730-1830

  • 11 October
  • 15.30 hours
  • IISH, Max Nettlau Room

On October 11th Noelle Richardson, postdoctoral researcher in the NWO-VICI project “Exploiting the Empire of Others: Dutch Investment in Foreign Colonial Resources 1570-1800”, will hold a lecture at the IISH.

Abstract: It has been well-established that the survival of the Portuguese Estado da Índia during the crucial period of the eighteenth century owed much to the collaboration and contributions of the local Hindu mercantile community. Hindu merchants in Goa dominated the colonial economy of the Estado, becoming indispensable political and commercial actors for the Portuguese imperial polity in India with whom they established a relationship of ‘'mutual dependency'. In this talk, I will discuss how and why this relationship came to play, whilst also providing a more ‘bottom up’ perspective to illuminate the extent to which this relationship was advantageous to both parties. In highlighting this degree of reciprocity, I will illustrate what Hindu merchants stood to gain from their myriad processes of engagement with the imperial polity and how they sought to profit and derive substantial benefits from their status as imperial subjects. In doing so, I will offer an additional perspective to debates that stress the continued importance and resilience of local mercantile actors in the global economy of the Indian Ocean to add further nuance to our understanding of the dynamics of European colonialism/imperialism on the subcontinent, and the complexity of the engagement between Asian and European actors during this period.

Bio: Dr. Noelle Richardson is a postdoctoral researcher in the NWO-VICI project “Exploiting the Empire of Others: Dutch Investment in Foreign Colonial Resources 1570-1800”. She obtained her PhD at the European University Institute, Florence in 2019 after completing her MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies at the University of Oxford. She was lecturer at Utrecht University and project leader and coordinator of the research profiles 'Leiden Global Interactions' and 'Asian Modernities and Traditions' at Leiden University.

IISH Seminar: This lecture is part of the monthly IISH Seminar series.
In principle, seminars take place every first Tuesday of the month. The seminar is open to the public, but with regard to accommodation, we would like you to register, jacqueline.rutte@bb.huc.knaw.nl, under the mention of 'lecture'.

Noelle Richardson