[Press & Publications] Historic Anniversary of East India Company Marked [Economic and Social History; History of Art]

July 2000

No 147

The University of Leicester has been involved in organising an international conference commemorating the 400th anniversary of the founding of the English East India Company.

The Worlds of the East India Company, held at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, was organized by Dr Huw Bowen (Economic and Social History) and Dr Geoff Quilley (History of Art) of the University of Leicester, in collaboration with the National Maritime Museum - the first such joint venture between these two institutions. Dr Quilley said: “It was intended from the outset to provide an interdisciplinary enquiry into the history and significance of the Company, and from an equally variegated international perspective. “Speakers from India, USA, Holland and France, as well as Britain, considered the Company in terms not just of its economic impact as the leading trading organization of the early-modern world, nor of its political impact in becoming after 1765 the governing body of colonial British India, but in terms also of its considerable effect upon the cultural world of Britain, from painting and architecture, to the eighteenth-century novel and the national press. “The Company’s roles in encouraging practices essential to British scientific and imperial development, such as hydrography and shipbuilding, and in being midwife to the ‘birth of a consumer society’ through its marketing of commodity goods such as textiles, gem stones and wine, both for a metropolitan society and for the expanding European community in India, were further subjects for investigation. “The scholarship presented here provided an important platform for further research into the history and meanings of the Company, and for investigation of related imperial, colonial and cultural issues, some of which will be the subject of conferences in the near future, organized by members of the University of Leicester - Clive Dewey (Economic and Social History) is co-organizing the Second International Workshop on the New Military History of South Asia in 2001. And Art and the British Empire, an international conference to be held at Tate Britain, 5-7 July 2001, and supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, is being co-organized by Geoff Quilley (History of Art) in association with Tim Barringer (Yale University). “The great success of The Worlds of the East India Company conference was the marriage of academic excellence and cutting-edge research with the faultless organization and publicity of the National Maritime Museum.” STUDIO-QUALITY RADIO INTERVIEW FACILITY AVAILABLE ON CAMPUS FOR BBC AND COMMERCIAL RADIO STATIONS. STUDIO BOOKINGS-0116 252 2919. STUDIO NUMBER-0116 285 4062.

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