30th Jan 2014 6:30pm
G7, Pavilion Parade.
Philosophy Politics Aesthetics seminar series. 'Race', History and Representation
Anti-Colonialism in the Making of Britain: the Case of Wilfrid Scawwen Blut and Colonel Arabi.
Dr Priayamvada Gopal, University of Cambridge.
This talk will examine the growth of early strands of anti-colonialism and criticism of foreign policy in Britain through the figure of WS Blunt and his associates in the context of the ‘Orabi revolt’ and the occupation of Egypt in 1882. It will argue that the interactions between Orabi, Abdu and other Egyptian nationalists on the one hand and WS Blunt, Frederic Harrison and others opened up a space not only for a British critique of colonialism in the context of anti-colonial resistance, but also for the emergence of something like the critical humanism described by Edward Said in his posthumously published lectures Humanism and Democratic Criticism. The Orabi revolt was important not only as an early nationalist movement but also because it influenced and generated early and important counterpoints to anthems of empire within Britain. These counterpoints--and the interactions that generated them-- are the subject of this paper.
Blunt’s would be the loudest, but by no means lone voice in an inaugural chorus of dissent that would take the first few decades of the twentieth century to grow into a more sustained domestic critique of British imperialism.
Priyamvada Gopal is an internationally acclaimed writer, critic and activist. Her interests are in colonial and postcolonial literatures. She has related interests in British and American literatures; the novel; translation; gender and feminism; Marxism and critical theory; and the politics and cultures of empire and globalisation . Her recent work includes “The Limits of Hybridity: Language and Innovation in Anglophone Postcolonial Poetry” in The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature, ( 2012); The Indian English Novel: Nation, History and Narration, (2009)"The 'Moral Empire': Africa, Globalisation and the Politics of Conscience", inNew Formations: a Journal of Culture/Theory/Politics, ed. Priyamvada Gopal and Neil Lazarus (2006); Literary Radicalism in India: Gender, Nation and the Transition to Independence, (2005).