Author and historian Amitav Ghosh will present the Second-Annual Lecture in Comparative World History, entitled “China and the Making of Modern India: A Story of Fantasy, Abuse and Recovered Memory,” on Wednesday, April 25.
The effects of opium on 18th and 19th century China have been extensively studied and it is now widely acknowledged that the drug trade had momentous consequences, for China and for the world at large. That this trade also had a powerful impact on India, which was the world’s leading opium-producing country under the British Raj, has been largely overlooked (or delibarately ignored). This talk will explore some aspects of this subject, including Chinese influences on Indian arts, crafts, tastes and styles.
The talk will begin at 4pm in the Franklin Humanities Institute Garage, Room C105, Bay 4 in the 1st Floor of the Smith Warehouse and is free and open to the public. The Annual Lecture in Comparative World History is held in honor and celebration of the work of Professor John F. Richards. The 2012 Lecture is sponsored by the Duke University Center for International Studies, the Duke University Center for South Asia Studies and the Office of Global Strategies and Programs.
Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria and is the author of The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In An Antique Land, Dancing in Cambodia, The Calcutta Chromosome, The Glass Palace, The Hungry Tide, and Sea of Poppies, which is the first volume of a projected series of novels, The Ibis Trilogy. The Circle of Reason was awarded France’s Prix Médicis in 1990, and The Shadow Lines won two presitigious Indian prizes the same year, the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Ananda Puraskar. The Calcutta Chromosome won the Arthur C. Clarke award for 1997 and The Glass Palace won the International e-Book Award at the Frankfurt book fair in 2001. In January 2005 The Hungry Tide was awarded the Crossword Book Prize, a major Indian award. His novel, Sea of Poppies (2008) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, 2008 and was awarded the Crossword Book Prize and the IndiaPlaza Golden Quill Award.
Amitav Ghosh’s work has been translated into more than twenty languages and he has served on the Jury of the Locarno Film Festival (Switzerland) and the Venice Film Festival (2001). Amitav Ghosh’s essays have been published in The New Yorker, The New Republic and The New York Times. His essays have been published by Penguin India (The Imam and the Indian) and Houghton Mifflin USA (Incendiary Circumstances). He has taught in many universities in India and the USA, including Delhi University, Columbia, Queens College and Harvard. In January 2007 he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest honours, by the President of India. In 2010, Amitav Ghosh was awarded honorary doctorates by Queens College, New York, and the Sorbonne, Paris. Along with Margaret Atwood, he was also a joint winner of a Dan David Award for 2010.
His next novel, River of Smoke, is forthcoming from John Murray (UK) in June 2011; Penguin India (July, 2011) and Farrar, Strauss & Giroux (US) in October 2011.