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Connecting Chronologies: Constructing Anthropology and Legitimising Empire in Late 18th-Century South Asia

Tuesday 3 December 2013, 6.00PM

Speaker(s): Professor Kapil Raj, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris

An audio recording of this event is now available. Please press 'play' on the media bar below (apologies: no video available). Please note, the presentation is in two parts.


Part of a series of lectures by world-leading historians of medicine, hosted by the Centre for Global Health Histories.

"Edward Said’s thesis on European orientalism radically changed the perception of eighteenth-century orientalism in Asia. From an enterprise inspired largely by disinterested curiosity, orientalism has since been looked on overwhelmingly as a hegemonic discursive formation through which non-Europeans, especially Asians, were reduced to inert objects of knowledge by the European knower. This lecture revisits the work of William Jones, the acclaimed pioneer of orientalism. It demonstrates that far from seeking to “other” non-Europeans in his writings, Jones’ aim was to look for a fundamental historical commonality amongst Europeans and certain Asiatic peoples. His quest was fuelled by the idea that although peoples may seem very different, their common heritage, based on Biblical genealogy and chronology, implied that they had compatible legal systems and interests and could thus be governed as part of a single (British) empire".

Location: Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building, University of York

Admission: Free admission - all are welcome

Email: cghh@york.ac.uk