Lecture in Comparative World History

The Lecture in Comparative World History, founded in memory of Professor John F. Richards, is intended to build upon Professor Richards’ belief that knowledge should be shared far and wide and that the opportunity for education should be afforded to as wide an audience as possible, while communicating the distinct and subtle cultural nuances when providing those educational opportunities.

2015 Lecture in Comparative World History

Indian Thought and the Shadow of Macaulay

 

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When: Monday, March 25, 2015 – 5:00pm-7:00pm
Speaker: Professor Sir Christopher A. Bayly FBA, FRSL
Vere Harmsworth Professor Emeritus, University of Cambridge
Professor of History, Queen Mary University of London
Vivekananda Professor, University of Chicago

Description:

The role of English in India is once again a matter of debate in India following the victory of Narendra Modi in last year’s elections. This year’s Lecture in Comparative World History contextualises the influence of Macaulay in the long term. It shows how and why the use of English was spreading in the Subcontinent well before Macaulay’s notorious ‘Minute’ but discusses the Minute’s meaning and global context. The lecture goes on to consider the emergence of modern Hindi and the attempt in the Punjab in the 1880s to reassert the teaching of Persian as a pan-Indian language. It ends with a discussion of the contest between English and Indian languages in the 20th and 21st centuries.

The Lecture in Comparative World History, founded in memory of Professor John F. Richards, is intended to build upon Professor Richards’ belief that knowledge should be shared far and wide and that the opportunity for education should be afforded to as wide an audience as possible, while communicating the distinct and subtle cultural nuances when providing those educational opportunities. This lecture series is sponsored by the Duke University Center for International Studies (DUCIS).

A reception will follow in the Franklin Center First Floor Gallery.

Past Lectures

  • 2013 – Professor Nile Green, University of California, Los Angeles: “Iron, Ink and Islam: The Frontiers of Empire and the Birth of Muslim Printing”

Muslim communities passed through early modernity without adopting the printing press that transformed religious and intellectual life in Europe. But between 1810 and 1830 Muslims began printing in a series of distant but connected cities from Calcutta, Cairo, Valetta and Lucknow to Tabriz, Kazan, Saint Petersburg and Singapore. Surveying the first presses, printers and books in each of these places, the lecture reconstructs the global interactions that gave birth to Muslim printing as European industrial products crossed cultural and political frontiers through closer contact with Indian, Iranian, Tatar, Malay and Arab middlemen. From its nursing by Christian missionaries and their trans-cultural journeymen, we follow the infancy of Muslim printing through responses to European industrialization on the distant frontiers of empire.

  • 2011-2012 – Amitav Ghosh: “China and the Making of Modern India: A Story of Fantasy, Abuse and Recovered Memory”
  • 2010-2011 – Kenneth Pomeranz: “What are World and Comparative History For?”