Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

The research for this project was supported by a yearlong National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (FA55026). It was also supported by New York University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, History Department, and Global Research Institute in London.
Thanks for the thoughtful engagement of colleagues and students at New York University. I have also benefited from helpful feedback over the past several years...

read more

1. How to Write a History of Liberalism?

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-32

One of the more recent developments of the neoliberal era is a new international “land grab.” In 2009, the International Food Policy Research Institute was estimating that in the period from 2006 through the middle of 2009 foreign investors had sought or secured between 37 and 49 million acres of farmland in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America, concentrated in areas that combined poor integration...

read more

2. The Great Rent Case

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 33-60

The early-modern British discourse of custom turned on “prescriptive” or “presumptive” claims. As a form of law that emerged in response to the particularities of a place and a people, custom did not depend on abstract reason as the basis for its authority. It instead rested on antiquity, the sheer fact of its preservation over time.1 Custom was a foundation of English liberties to which Parliament could...

read more

3. Custom and the Crisis of Victorian Liberalism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 61-95

Custom had long been defensible on identifiably liberal grounds. As attested by the ubiquitous invocations of his name among advocates of raiyat interests in India (including the lawyers arguing the raiyat case in Hills v. Ghose), John Stuart Mill had elaborated a widely recognized way of connecting customary rights to desirable political and political-economic outcomes. Mill defended...

read more

4. An Agrarian Civil Society?

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 96-129

The liberal discourse of custom carried with it no guarantees as to the accuracy of its claims about the political-economic and normative principles prevailing in agrarian society. Obviously, there are no grounds to assume that the account of the “common law” of the country that the liberal discourse of custom offered bore any discernable relationship to an actually existent set of customs practiced on the...

read more

Intermezzo: The Forgetting of Liberal Custom

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 130-135

How did the liberal discourse of custom subsequently become so obscured that it has been essentially invisible to the rich historiography of both modern Bengal and British colonial policy? The authority of custom would certainly remain a fundamental reference point for colonial administrations throughout the British Empire, most famously in Africa. In the wake of the 1885 Tenancy Act, however, British...

read more

5. Peasant Property and Muslim Freedom

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 136-198

If we consider the founding of Pakistan in 1947 as the single most consequential political expression of a self-identifiedly “Muslim” aspiration to collective self-determination in South Asia (whatever the ambiguities, contradictions and exclusions of that aspiration, and whatever the disappointments that the reality of Pakistan soon presented to those who had advocated for it), we will quickly arrive...

read more

Conclusion: Political Economy, Liberalism, and the History of Capital

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 199-208

Why focus on the history of arguments about labor’s capacity to create property in a place like colonial rural Bengal? There is little reason to think that this was in any sense the most pressing preoccupation of those we generally identify as liberal thinkers in the later nineteenth or early twentieth centuries. Indeed, stated in that bald form, it is a proposition that many of the best-known liberal thinkers of that...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 209-246

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 247-262

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 263-273