PI Josephine Hoegaerts presented some preliminary results of her research on the first ‘colonial’ students at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and their activities as members of diverse debating societies (such as the Unions and Majili societies) at the end of the nineteenth century. The paper explores what role voices like F.C. Mehta’s and Yusuf Ali’s played in the transfer of, particularly, political skill and knowledge between Britain and colonial India. Previous research on the rise of nationalism and political vernaculars in India has suggested that these movements were influenced by British discourses of sovereignty and citizenship. This research pays attention to how such discourses travelled. By focusing on the mobility of political ‘skills’ and knowledge of political culture, documented in the reports of rhetorical activities in societies like the Cambridge Union, it suggests ways to understand the practice of political transfer in this colonial context.
See the conference program and Hoegaerts' abstract for more information.