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William Dalrymple: Corporate Violence and the East India Company

Listen to William Dalrymple: Corporate Violence and the East India Company

Photograph of Clare Wright and William Dalrymple

Clare Wright and William Dalrymple at the Athenaeum Theatre — Photo: Jon Tjhia

Historian William Dalrymple ­­believes the stunning greed and violence of the militarised East India Company is ‘history’s most terrifying warning’ about unregulated corporate power, and the insidious means by which shareholders exert dangerous influence on the state.

Dalrymple – co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, and bestselling author of books including The Last MughalCity of Djinns and Nine Lives – examines the corporation’s ruinous legacy in his latest work, The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company.

The Anarchy describes an aggressive colonial power operating under the guise of a multinational company, using a ruthless 200,000-strong private army to extort, plunder and dominate vast swathes of Central, South and Southeast Asia – answerable only to its distant investors. At a time when global media corporations and tech giants wield growing and increasingly pervasive power and influence, the story is a timely cautionary tale. 

At this event, William Dalrymple joins author Clare Wright to discuss the long reach and devastating legacy of the East India Company.


Portrait of William Dalrymple

William Dalrymple

William Dalrymple is one of Britain’s greatest historians and the author of the classic In Xanadu, the Wolfson Prize-winning White Mughals and the Hemingway Prize-winning Return of a King. A master of microhistories, William Dalrymple has turned his hand for the first time to macro-history in The Anarchy

Portrait of Clare Wright

Clare Wright

‘I am a feminist therefore I commit feminist acts. I’m not going to undermine the political importance of what I do.’

La Trobe University historian Professor Clare Wright has worked as an author, academic, political speechwriter, historical consultant, and radio and TV broadcaster. Her latest book, You Daughters of Freedom: The Australians Who Won the Vote and Inspired the World, has been praised by Senator Penny Wong and Anne Summers. Her earlier book, The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, won the 2014 Stella Prize and the 2014 NIB Award for Literature.

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