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Professor Nandini Das (Oxford), "Ruderal Poetics: Epic, Empire, and the Tenacity of Weeds"

Albrecht Dürer - The Large Piece of Turf, 1503

Thursday 18 April 2024, 6.00PM

Speaker(s): Professor Nandini Das, University of Oxford

This lecture reflects on the growth in the cracks of the edifices of the past, and of imperial and national narratives. From the classical imagination to its early modern successors, much attention has been paid to the building of foundations, to architectural imaginations as part of accounts of civilisation itself. This lecture will turn its attention instead to the tenacity of weeds that have always shared that space, to the unwanted, alien intrusions, vegetal and otherwise, that grow in the interstices of epic and imperial imaginings.

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About the speaker

Nandini Das is Professor of Early Modern English Literature and Culture at Oxford University and Fellow of Exeter College, and holds an honorary professorship at the University of Liverpool, UK. She works on Renaissance literature and cultural history, with special emphasis on travel and cross-cultural encounters between Europe and Asia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

She has written Robert Greene’s Planetomachia (2007), Renaissance Romance: The Transformation of English Prose Fiction, 1570-1620 (2011), and published widely on Renaissance literature and cross-cultural encounter. With Tim Youngs, she has co-edited The Cambridge History of Travel Writing (2019), and is editing the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Travel, Race and Identity in Early Modern England. She is volume editor of Elizabethan Levant Trade and South Asia in the Oxford edition of Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations, and as project director for the ‘Travel, Transculturality and Identity in Early Modern England’ (ERC-TIDE) project, she has co-written and edited Keywords of Identity and Lives in Transit, about early modern English concepts around identity and race and the lives they touched. Her most recent book, Courting India: England, Mughal India, and the Origins of Empire, received the 2023 British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding.

Location: BS/104 (the Tree House), Berrick Saul Building