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Imperial India on Trial: Crime, Punishment, and Colonialism, 1880-1940
March 8, 2010 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow (2009-2010)
In the last decades of the British Raj, anti-colonial writers staged scenes of crime and punishment, trial and testimony, in order to interrogate the legitimacy of imperialism itself. This project examines questions of imperial justice in British and Indian writers of the early twentieth century—from E.M. Forster, George Orwell, and Virginia Woolf, to Rabindranath Tagore and Mulk Raj Anand. Far from hegemonic, the arena of legal discipline was a contested space of encounter between the “Anglo” and the “Indian” subject, custom, and law. For even as modern discipline would forge a docile, efficient, self-monitoring subject, anti-imperialists and modernists alike work to challenge, evade, or disrupt a disciplinary gaze.
Kate Merz is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests are in British modernism, postcolonial studies (especially the South Asian diaspora), and the law, science, and material culture of empire. Her interdisciplinary minor (in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies) includes courses in Anthropology, History of Medicine, Art History, and Film. She has taught a variety of courses, ranging from Shakespeare to postcolonial literature; was named a University Fellow and department writing prize winner; and is a member of the Modernisms/Modernities Colloquium.