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Some years ago, in the midst of a conversation about tourism and travelling, a friend from one of Britain’s former colonies remarked how shocked she had been to see ‘white people begging’ during her first trip abroad to Australia.
Popular references to Calcutta (now Kolkata) – once the gleaming capital of British India – in Anglo-American contexts often conjure images of poverty, crowded city streets, unbearable traffic, smog, and residents that require a savior.
The subject of sati – more commonly known to Anglophone readers as ‘suttee’, a term which was used by 18th- and 19th-century writers to signify the self-immolation of Hindu widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands (1) – has long been of interest to historians.
In September of 1934, an incredulous (or perhaps simply amused) Dutch official wrote from Batavia to his mentor in Leiden telling of the most incredible journey made by a family of Sundanese from West Java.
In a 2009 review article on the study of Ireland’s relationship with the British Empire, Stephen Howe lamented the polarity of historiographical opinion surrounding the problems of Irish identity in a British imperial context.
Since the 1980s, secularism in India has been a topic of heated contestation. Advocates for a Hindu nation deride what they call ‘pseudo-secularism’, claiming that it privileges Muslim and Christian minorities against the interests of India’s Hindu majority. Religious minorities, however, consistently appeal to India’s secular constitution to secure their rights.
Historical and anthropological encounters between culture and capital are conventionally staged in India, as elsewhere in Asia and parts of Europe such as Italy, as encounters between relationships and practices defined as cultural, and some set of definitional meanings, logics, institutions, and practices associated with capitalism and the market.
I first came into contact with Jo Laycock’s Imagining Armenia when I received the Manchester University Press catalogue and found it listed on the page after my book.
Gerald Horne is a powerhouse. He has authored close to 20 books, many of them setting the terms for debates on various issues (from the Hollywood blacklist to the Watts Uprising, from labour movements in the Caribbean to liberation struggles in Africa, from the African slave trade to the life of Shirley Graham Du Bois). Little seems to escape his pen.
In this innovative and interesting study, Antoinette Burton raises questions and extends the parameters of discussion in relation to a number of key issues that concern the relationship between women, the home and colonial modernity in twentieth century colonial India.