Was there a space in Central Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries for Indian colonial subjects and Europeans alike to engage in forms of cultural and intellectual exchange that transcended the limits of British imperialism? Or did varieties of imperialism in Central Europe nevertheless constrain the possibilities for intercultural encounter, despite the absence of formal colonial bonds? More generally put, how can the varied encounters between Central Europe and South Asia best be located on the spectrum stretching from power and domination to communication and dialogue? To ask these questions is to participate in a long tradition of postcolonial scholarship, but also to have reached a critical moment within that tradition. A transnational perspective, one not limited by the construct of the nation-state or the fixed axis of center and periphery, allows us to shed light on the relationship between South Asia and Europe in a way that has not yet been done. In coming to a better understanding of European imperialism and the complex forms of intellectual and cultural interconnection that it occasioned, this conference is of utmost timeliness.
The conference takes place under the auspices of the South Asia Initiative of Harvard University, October 28 & 29, 2005.
201 Robinson Hall
Cambridge, MA 02138
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