The history of economics literature has few studies on how traveling impacts economists and their ideas. Much fewer still exist on the travels of lesser-known economists such as Romesh Chunder Dutt. Dutt (1848–1909) was the founder of agricultural economics in India, a civil servant in the imperial administration, a writer, and an early nationalist fighting for Indian independence. Dutt encouraged traveling because, according to him, if Indians were to see and experience progress in Europe they could better understand modernity. Indian travel writing, unlike the European counterpart, was about experiencing what Indians had learned about modernity at the imperial universities in India. And yet, when the Indian travelers went to Europe they observed modernity alongside poverty, something that modernity should have excluded. Travel and travel writing for imperial subjects like Dutt was an empowering act where the gaze of the other was reversed: Indians showed that they could now also observe and study the British subject. I argue that Dutt's travels ultimately provided him with a new method to examine the world and criticize the way it was organized.

You do not currently have access to this content.