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.
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.
After lagging behind the field of British imperial studies, in the last decade the historiography of the French colonial empire has become an increasingly dynamic and rich field.
Penelope Fitzgerald’s historical novel The Beginning of Spring, set in Moscow in 1913 but written at the height of perestroika, conveys an ambivalence familiar to those of us who spent time there during the Gorbachev years.
In Western imaginations, the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966–76) – in which one of the world’s oldest, most elaborate cultures began destroying itself, in which a successful, disciplined political organisation tore its own heart out, and in which colleagues and classmates turned murderously on each other – stands among the landmarks of the recent Chinese past.
It is perhaps less true today than it was a decade ago that ‘an enormous number of early photographs of China lie largely ignored or unknown’, as Regine Thiriez, one of the pioneers of the field who has spent many years collecting and studying scattered and often very small albums, wrote in 1999.(1) During the last two decades the so-called ‘pictorial turn’ in the huma
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.
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.
Late in the afternoon on 13 April 1919, the British officer Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, with 90 native troops under his command, entered the enclosure known as the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar in Northern India. A crowd of several thousand civilians were gathered in the public garden to protest against the imprisonment of two local nationalist leaders by the colonial authorities.
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.