Technology, the State and Economic Development in Eurasia, 1700-1900


ACLS Fellowship Program




In 1700 Europe, India and China were roughly comparable in their levels of technology, economic development and wealth. By 1900 Europe had surged ahead with major economic and technological breakthroughs, and India and China were mired in stagnation and growing poverty. The purpose of this project is to reinterpret this divergence. It argues that European advance was not the product of a unique European culture or economy, the conventional explanation, but rather a political response to a social and economic need: the competitive challenge posed by India, especially in cotton textiles. Nineteenth-century India, on the other hand, failed to adopt European breakthroughs as British colonial policies sacrificed Indian industry in favor of British.