What gave India a competitive advantage in the 18th-century and why is this so important to understand?
2. Why was Britain’s Industrial Revolution contingent on coal and colonies?
3. When did Britain abandon mercantilism and become advocates of “free trade” and how does this shift shed light on the history of the Industrial Revolution and “the rise of the West”?
4. What is the relevance of opium to this history and what do we learn about the Opium Wars from the primary sources and the Audio & Visual Materials?
The Industrial Revolution is the focus of this week. In particular, the central aim is to understand why the Eurocentric narrative of the Industrial Revolution is inaccurate. Examining the non-Eurocentric narrative of the Industrial Revolution entails exploring the significance of a number of factors that were crucial to industrialization and England’s ability to industrialize first. This is when the concepts of historical conjunctureand historical contingency are essential. It is also crucial to understand the distinction between historical accidents (like the fact that England alone sat on a bed of readily available coal), and historical agency (like the decision to use force to open Chinese markets and the measures taken to traffic in illegal drugs in order to profit from trade with ChinaWhat gave India a competitive advantage in the 18th-century ).
The chapter in Marks’ text, together with the Primary Documents and Audio & Visual Materials provide more than enough information and detail for a full appreciation of how to more accurately understand the Industrial Revolution so that in the remaining weeks of the course we can better appreciate the ongoing consequences. One point worth highlighting from both the Primary and the Audio & Visual Materials is the evidence of opposition even in Britain to the illegal opium trade and the opium wars, and the efforts to justify British drug trafficking. The role of private companies and the application of industry to war is also an illuminating part of this history. A Prezi providing images of this past is included in the Audio & Visual Materials in order to visually facilitate and capture the relevance of historical conjuncture, contingency, and accident.What gave India a competitive advantage in the 18th-century
reading and audio