Lectures

BACSA’s annual lecture series on British India has been presented in association with the Institute of Historical Research, University of London (2017-18) and the South Asia Centre, London School of Economics (2018-present). Past speakers have included Charles Allen, Joya Chatterjee, Tom Devine, Stuart Flinders, David Gilmour, Mark Havelock-Allan, Katie Hickman, Rosie Llewellyn-Jones, George Morton-Jack, Victoria Schofield, Farzana Shaikh, Jules Stewart, Ian Talbot, Miles Taylor, Jon Wilson and Alex von Tunzelmann.

Four lectures of the 2019-20 series (below) were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

The Raj Re-Examined

Presented in association with the South Asia Centre, LSE

Time/place/price
6.30-8.00pm, Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics, 

54 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LJ
Tickets £10 per lecture (£6 BACSA members, £8.50 guests of BACSA members) 

include a glass of wine afterwards
Students £5.50 on presentation of a valid student ID

There will be book sales after most lectures

Thursday 5 December 2020

India’s Great War: Forgotten Personal Stories of 1914-18

What part did the Indian Army play in the First World War, and how significant was it? British historian George Morton-Jack finds new answers in a lecture that recounts the story of India’s Great War through the forgotten personal stories of officers, men and those they left behind. George Morton-Jack is the author of the acclaimed The Indian Empire at War, the first global history of the Indian Army 1914-18, and will explore the experiences of its British officers and Indian ranks across the fronts of Europe, Africa and Asia.

Thursday 6 February 2020  POSTPONED

Lord Curzon’s Lament: India and the British World, 1857-1947

India was often seen by Old India Hands as the quintessential expression of British Imperialism—a view that modern commentators are quick to endorse. But that was not what many contemporaries thought—and with good reason. This lecture by Professor John Darwin will suggest some of the reasons why. John Darwin is a Senior Research Fellow at Nuffield College. He retired in 2019 as Professor of Global and Imperial History, University of Oxford, and is an internationally renowned historian of empires, and of the British Empire, and a Fellow of the British Academy. His works include The Empire Project: The Rise and Fall of the British World System 1830-1970 and Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain.

 Thursday 12 March 2020

She-Merchants, Buccaneers and Gentlewomen

The first British women set foot in India in the early seventeenth century. It is well known that some went to India to find husbands but what is almost unknown is that they also worked as traders, cloth merchants, milliners, shop-keepers, and much else besides. Katie Hickman, bestselling author of Courtesans, Daughters of Britannia and She-Merchants, Buccaneers and Gentlewomen, examines the lives of these tough, early adventurers that challenge the stereotype of the snobbish, indolent memsahib. 

Monday 6 April 2020  POSTPONED

Keeping Their Spirits Up: Alcohol, Diet and Doctoring during the Siege of Lucknow 

The journals of civilians and soldiers besieged at the Residency describe a deadly struggle to survive in the face of starvation, wounds and disease. Sam Goodman considers how the siege required greater civilian involvement in the defence of Empire than ever before and desperate measures with respect to alcohol, diet and doctoring. Dr Sam Goodman, Principal Academic, Bournemouth University, is currently researching the role of alcohol in colonial medicine, military routine and Anglo-Indian culture, supported by a Wellcome Trust grant. He is the author of British Spy Fiction and the End of Empire and a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker.

Monday 11 May 2020   POSTPONED

The Railways of the Raj

Britain built India’s railways. Often portrayed as an act of colonial benevolence, the truth is more complex. In this lecture Christian Wolmar explores the history of India’s rail network and its role in the nation’s history, explains why it was built, and shows how its development was a missed opportunity. Christian Wolmar is a distinguished railway historian and transport commentator whose books include Blood, Iron and Gold, The Great Railway Revolution and The Railways and the Raj.

Monday 6 July 2020   POSTPONED

The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company                                              

In August 1765 the East India Company defeated the Mughal emperor and forced him to establish a new administration in his richest provinces. Run by English merchants who collected taxes using a ruthless private army, this new regime saw the East India Company transform itself from a private company based in London into an aggressive colonial power. In this lecture BACSA member and award-winning historian William Dalrymple recounts the tale of the first global corporate power. He is the author of several acclaimed travel books and international best-sellers White MughalsThe Last Mughal and The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company

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