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Gateway Suez: Indian Arrival in Britain and the Shock of the Familiar, 1870-1914

Presented by the UCLA Mellon Postdoctoral Program in the Humanities "Cultures in Transnational Perspective"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
UCLA Royce Hall 314
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Internationally known for her research in postcolonial writing and theory, and the literature of empire, Elleke Boehmer (BA(Hons), MPhil(Oxon), DPhil(Oxon)) currently works on questions of migration, identity and resistance in both postcolonial literature and writing of the colonial period, in particular of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. At once a critic and a novelist, her other main research interests include anti-colonialism since 1870; modernism, masculinity and empire; and the cross-overs between feminism and nationalism in colonial and postcolonial writing. She has a continuing concern with what it means to represent beauty and death, especially in postcolonial narrative and poetry.

Her recent publications include Nelson Mandela: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2008), Colonial and Postcolonial Literature: Migrant Metaphors (Oxford UP, 1995; 2nd edn 2005), Stories of Women: Gender and Narrative in the Postcolonial Nation (Manchester UP, 2005; paperback 2009), Empire, the National, and the Postcolonial, 1890-1920 (Oxford UP, 2002; paperback 2004). She has edited the anthology Empire Writing, 1870-1918 and, more recently, the British bestseller Scouting for Boys, Robert Baden-Powell's primer of the Scout movement (2004; pb 2005), as well as Cornelia Sorabji's 1934 India Calling (with Naella Grew: Trent Editions, 2004). She has co-edited collections of essays on transnationalism, the new South Africa (1990 and 2005), and on questions in postcolonial aesthetics. A collection of critical essays on Terror and the Postcolonial, rising from the successful 2006 British Academy supported workshops, co-organised with Dr Stephen Morton, appeared from Wiley-Blackwell in 2009. A collection, J.M. Coetzee in Context and Theory, co-edited with Robert Eaglestone and Katy Iddiols, was out from Continuum in 2009.

She has also has published four well-received novels, Screens Against the Sky (1990: shortlisted David Higham Prize); An Immaculate Figure (1993), Bloodlines (2000: shortlisted Sanlam Prize), and Nile Baby (Ayebia, 2008), as well as a number of short stories in journals, magazines, and anthologies. Her most recent stories include ‘Fold’ published in STAND in 2009; and ‘It’s OK’, an AIDS story to be published in Flash Fiction 1. Nile Baby explores the deeply embedded presences of Africa in Britain. Sharmilla, and Other Portraits (Jacana, 2010) is her first collection of short stories.

Elleke Boehmer is Co-Investigator, with Professor Susheila Nasta of the Open University (PI), on a large AHRC-funded project ‘Making Britain' <>  to investigate the many rich South Asian contributions to British social, cultural and political life in the period 1870-1950. The project will explore inter alia Indian students' lives in Britain , in particular Oxbridge and London, the experience of Indian Sepoys on the Western front, and the involvement of Indian intellectuals, artists, and writers in the formation of a pre-War avant-garde. The project will offer a series of workshops and conferences, a monograph and edited collection, a manuscripts symposium at the Bodleian library, and a final wrap-up exhibition and conference to be held at the British Library.

Please note this is a non-CISA event.

Cost : Free

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