front cover of Lawmaking in Dutch Sri Lanka
Lawmaking in Dutch Sri Lanka
Navigating Pluralities in a Colonial Society
Nadeera Rupesinghe
Leiden University Press, 2023
Lived experiences of the law in colonial Sri Lanka.

Dutch and Sinhalese law coexisted in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Sri Lanka. A dual forum called the Landraad empowered colonial justices to defer to either imperial or indigenous law on issues ranging from standards of evidence to inheritance rights. So, while major judicial decisions were often skewed toward assimilation, everyday life in the colony was marked by a cultural multiplicity. In Navigating Pluralities, Nadeera Rupesinghe focuses on these day-to-day experiences of the law in colonial Sri Lanka, discovering how such plural practices affected both colonized and colonizers in surprising ways.

front cover of The Limits of Matter
The Limits of Matter
Chemistry, Mining, and Enlightenment
Hjalmar Fors
University of Chicago Press, 2014
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Europeans raised a number of questions about the nature of reality and found their answers to be different from those that had satisfied their forebears. They discounted tales of witches, trolls, magic, and miraculous transformations and instead began looking elsewhere to explain the world around them. In The Limits of Matter, Hjalmar Fors investigates how conceptions of matter changed during the Enlightenment and pins this important change in European culture to the formation of the modern discipline of chemistry.
Fors reveals how, early in the eighteenth century, chemists began to view metals no longer as the ingredients for “chrysopoeia”—or gold making—but as elemental substances, or the basic building blocks of matter. At the center of this emerging idea, argues Fors, was the Bureau of Mines of the Swedish State, which saw the practical and profitable potential of these materials in the economies of mining and smelting.

By studying the chemists at the Swedish Bureau of Mines and their networks, and integrating their practices into the wider European context, Fors illustrates how they and their successors played a significant role in the development of our modern notion of matter and made a significant contribution to the modern European view of reality.

front cover of Lives in Transit in Early Modern England
Lives in Transit in Early Modern England
Identity and Belonging
Nandini Das
Amsterdam University Press, 2022
What did it mean in practice to be a ‘go-between’ in the early modern world? How were such figures perceived in sixteenth and seventeenth century England? And what effect did their movement between languages, countries, religions and social spaces – whether enforced or voluntary – have on the ways in which people navigated questions of identity and belonging? Lives in Transit in Early Modern England is a work of interdisciplinary scholarship which examines how questions of mobility and transculturality were negotiated in practice in the early modern world. Its twenty-four case studies cover a wide range of figures from different walks of life and corners of the globe, ranging from ambassadors to Amazons, monarchs to missionaries, translators to theologians. Together, the essays in this volume provide an invaluable resource for people interested in questions of race, belonging, and human identity.

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