This fascinating study of two British missions to Tibet in 1774 and 1904 provides a unique perspective on the relationship between the Enlightenment and European colonialism. Gordon Stewart compares and contrasts the Enlightenment era mission led by George Bogle and the Edwardian mission of Francis Younghusband as they crossed the Himalayas into Tibet. Through the British agents' diaries, reports, and letters and by exploring their relationships with Indians, Bhutanese and Tibetans, Stewart is able to trace the shifting ideologies, economic interests and political agendas that lay behind British empire-building from the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. This compelling account sheds new light on the changing nature of British imperialism, on power and intimacy in the encounter between East and West, and on the relationship of history and memory.
Gordon T. Stewart is the Jack & Margaret Sweet Professor of History at Michigan State University. His previous publications include The Great Awakening in Nova Scotia 1760-1791 (1982), The Origins of Canadian Politics (1986) and Jute and Empire: The Calcutta Jute Wallahs and the Landscapes of Empire (1998).
Introduction; 1. An enlightenment narrative 1774; 2. Wives, concubines and 'Domestic Arrangements'; 3. Imperial eyes in 'the Golden Territories'; 4. Enter Younghusband; 5. From enlightenment to empire; 6. Tibet lessons.