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Ideas of India in Britain

Ideas of India in Britain 1857-1947

Friday, 14th May and Saturday, 15th May, 2010

Location: CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge


Mishka Sinha (AMES, University of Cambridge) E-mail:
Thomas Green (Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge) E-mail:

This workshop aims to provide an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of ideas of India in Britain between 1857 and 1947, by bringing together early-career researchers and more senior academics from different disciplines working on this crucial aspect of British intellectual history. This was not only a transformational period for British colonial attitudes to India as an imperial subject – from the trauma of ‘the Mutiny’ to the political and emotional severance of Indian independence – but it was also a period in which ideas of India more generally played a defining role in the intellectual and cultural life of Britain. Particular aspects of the theme which participants’ papers will discuss include ideas of India in professional Indology; the idea of India in ‘esoteric’ spiritual movements such as Theosophy; Indians in Britain (e.g. Purohit Swami, Keshab Chandra Sen, Swami Vivekananda); the idea of India in literary, intellectual and popular culture; and comparative studies of conceptions of India on the continent.

Keynote Speaker

Professor Peter van der Veer (Director, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen University)

Roundtable chair

Professor (Emeritus) Tapan Raychaudhuri (St. Anthony’s College, University of Oxford)