Abstract

March 1775 proved to be an exciting time for Sir Robert Barker, stationed in India, traveling between Allahabad and Calcutta. Suffering as many British East India Company members did from the extreme heat and other forms of climatological discomfort produced by seasonal monsoons, Barker wrote to the fellows of the Royal Society begging permission to offer his observations on the manufacture of ice in India. Barker's interest had as much to do with the availability of comfortable refreshment as it did with the prospects of climate control, of making alien Indian weather English. Drawing on local knowledge, Barker's interest in Indian techne demonstrates the ways in which Enlightenment science and British colonialism were negotiated through the incorporation of "Asiatic" study. Barker's aims, however, were primarily in the interests of anglicizing the weather rather than promoting Indian science. In much the same way that Samuel Johnson's dictionary provided a template for fixing the meaning of what it meant to be English, Barker's study capitalizes on fantasies of climate control that dominated the Little Ice Age.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1553-3786
Print ISSN
1531-0485
Pages
pp. 56-73
Launched on MUSE
2008-10-26
Open Access
No
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