Michael Fisher: Extending Indian History into Britain

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© Guillaume Gandelin for LILA Foundation

Friday 27th, September 2013, India Habitat Centre

MIchel Fisher transparant left250

Michael H. Fisher holds the Danforth Chair in History at Oberlin College, USA.  His research explores the social, cultural, and political interactions between Indians and Europeans, in India and in Europe, from the 16th century onward.  Among his books are: Migration: A World History (Oxford University Press 2013), The Inordinately Strange Life of Dyce Sombre: Victorian Anglo Indian M.P. and Chancery ‘Lunatic’ (co-published, London: Hurst; New York: Oxford University Press; Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2010), Across the Three Seas: Travellers Tales from Mughal India (New Delhi: Random House, 2007), and The First Indian Author in English: Dean Mahomed (1759-1851) in India, Ireland, and England (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996).


© Guillaume Gandelin for LILA Foundation


logo sept 13 special lecture series2The Lecture: Men and women from India have been visiting and settling in Europe for four centuries. Their diverse lives and what they wrote and published has affected the course of both Indian and European history.  This illustrated talk will consider some of the rich variety of experiences and effects of the earliest Indians who travelled to England, thus extending Indian history to include Britain.


© Guillaume Gandelin for LILA Foundation

Michael H Fisher’s lecture was an extraordinary tour de force. Of course, it was a much-awaited treat for those familiar with Prof. Fisher’s rigorous and thorough scholarship. The presentation took the audience on a spectacular journey through maps, rare photographs, paintings, books. It was exciting to travel with Fisher through the indoor lives and public images of men and women who visited or settled in England during that period: from seamen to Indian spouses, hired scholars to entrepreneurs, diplomats to students, servants to officials… His voice so vividly revealed how their diverse lives and what they wrote and published have affected the later courses of Indian and European histories. The evening was also ‘special’ for a certain kind of magnetism that brought two unlike poles together. Indeed, Prof. Jonathan Gil Harris, whose PRISM lecture ‘The First Firangis’ explored the notion of Indianness vis-a-vis foreignness in the context of the first settlers in India, served as Chair during the lecture. Getting Fisher and Gil Harris to share a desk helped LILA see itself as a space facilitating exchange of ideas and actors from different spaces.

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