Elleke Boehmer (Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford) discusses her new book with Megan Robb (Lecturer of Hindi and Urdu, Oriental Institute, and Junior Research Fellow at New College, University of Oxford), Faisal Devji (University Reader in Modern South Asian History, University of Oxford) and Santanu Das (Reader of English Literature, Kings College London). The discussion is introduced and chaired by Professor James Belich (Beit Professor of Imperial and Commonwealth History, University of Oxford).
Elleke Boehmer's book "Indian Arrivals 1870-1915: Networks of British Empire" explores the rich and complicated landscape of intercultural contact between Indians and Britons on British soil at the height of empire, as reflected in a range of literary writing, including poetry and life-writing. The book's four decade-based case studies, leading from 1870 and the opening of the Suez Canal, to the first years of the Great War, investigate from several different textual and cultural angles the central place of India in the British metropolitan imagination at this relatively early stage for Indian migration. Focusing on a range of remarkable Indian 'arrivants' -- scholars, poets, religious seekers, and political activists including Toru Dutt and Sarojini Naidu, Mohandas Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore -- "Indian Arrivals" examines the take-up in the metropolis of the influences and ideas that accompanied their transcontinental movement, including concepts of the west and of cultural decadence, of urban modernity and of cosmopolitan exchange.