Advanced Paper Synopsis

Indian Entrepreneurship: Past and Present

(Pegram Harrison)

This paper explores the evolution of the Indian economic environment from the bottom up, over time and from the perspective of the often ill-documented entrepreneurial ventures that have powered its economic history from the earliest regular contact with European traders up to the present.  Readings and discussion stress entrepreneurship as a social and economic phenomenon, not as a technique of business or commercial activity—although some exploration of entrepreneurial theory will be important.  India (broadly defined) forms the central node of a complex network of exchange circulating in the Indian Ocean; disaggregating these exchanges to a detailed level of scrutiny is a methodological challenge (accessing data and evidence in the historical record) as well as a critical challenge (of interpretation and representation).  Students will be expected to read around the topics set for each week, to uncover literature and sources beyond those set, and to engage in debate about how the patterns and problems of the past inform an understanding of the present.