A talk by Radhika Mongia on her new book, Indian Migration and Empire: A Colonial Genealogy of the Modern State

February 21, 2019

February 21, 2019

4:00 pm To 6:00 pm

Fayerweather Hall, Room 413, New York

Event Description

Co-sponsored by the South Asia Institute, Center for International History, and the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies

Abstract: Recent years have witnessed an increased attention to specifying the characteristics of the colonial state, largely focused on outlining its distinctiveness. Two epistemological frames subtend most inquiries: first, replicating the Weberian view that the state is a territorially circumscribed entity, analyses of the state are also similarly circumscribed. Second, if implicitly, the normative horizon of the inquiries is the European modern state. While recognizing the value and, oftentimes, the necessity of studies conceived in territorially delimited terms, this presentation will suggest ways to address the coproduction of the coeval formations of colonial state and the modern state. Through an assessment of state control of colonial Indian migration, I address how important features of historical state formation are obscured when analyses assume a presentist territorial closure, that modern elements are embedded in the colonial state form, and that a colonial dimension is an integral aspect of the modern state form, globally.

Radhika Mongia teaches in the Department of Sociology and the Graduate Programs in Sociology, Women’s Studies, and Social and Political Thought at York University. Her research is situated at the intersection of history, law, and political theory and explores the makings of the global modern. She is the author of Indian Migration and Empire: A Colonial Genealogy of the Modern State (2018).

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