This address explores the writing of history in Britain during the Georgian and Victorian eras, arguing for the need both to trace British historiographical genealogies along routes that extend from Europe to the Indian subcontinent and to acknowledge the importance of material histories for this evolution. Focusing on military men who served in the East India Company during the Third Anglo-Maratha and Pindari War (1817–18), it examines the entangled histories of material loot, booty and prize on the one hand, and archival and history-writing practices developed by British military officers on the other. Active in these military campaigns and in post-conflict administration of conquered territories, a cadre of Company officers (assisted by ‘native’ interlocutors trained in Indian historical traditions) elaborated historical practices that we more conventionally associate with the Rankean historiographical innovations of the Victorian era. The Royal Historical Society's own history is shaped by these cross-cultural material encounters.
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