Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture | Studium Generale

The Indian Ocean World & Decolonization in South Asia

Wednesday 27 September 2017
India in Leiden
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

The Indian Ocean World in the 18th and 19th century. Forced Journeys, Unfree Labor, Marginal Stories

Turning away from histories of territories, this lecture recounts the forced journeys of peoples from India and Sri Lanka/Ceylon across the Indian Ocean. These marginal stories of  subaltern individuals shipped and trans-shipped between the Dutch and British colonial territories  of India, Sri Lanka/Ceylon, Mauritius and the Cape in the 18th and 19th century give insights into the various forms of mobility that shaped the making of societies in the Indian Ocean world.  They also help us capture the remarkable capacity of some of these involuntary migrants to forge fragile communities, preserve practices of meaning  and resist the predation of masters and rulers. 

The speaker

Nira Wickramasinghe
, Professor of Modern South Asian Studies, LIAS, Leiden University

Shadow-Lines. Re-framing Decolonization in South Asia

This talk will go back to the transitional decades of decolonization in South Asia, to rethink the meanings of freedom that accompanied anti-colonial struggle. Using visual art and aesthetics, I will try to de-center and re-frame the arrival of independence in post-colonial South Asia by foregrounding stories of displacement that accompanied the retreat of empire, and the incompleteness of decolonization that continued beyond the arrival of freedom in 1947. Pursuing ‘shadow-lines’ that lie beneath the more visible histories of 20th-century South Asia, this talk will ask how cultural imagination became and remains a site for alternative imaginations of histories and futures.

The speaker
Dr Sanjukta Sunderason
, Assistant Professor of Modern South Asian Studies, LIAS, Leiden University  

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