The Politics of Knowledge: Rethinking Education and Reform in the Modern British Empire
Free Public Lecture
Linkway 4th Floor
Education was a crucial transfer point within modern imperial projects; it was a crucial domain through which relationships between the state, religious institutions, various agents of reform, and Indigenous, colonised and enslaved peoples were negotiated. Exploring a range of case studies, this lecture highlights the multiple trajectories of colonial education in the modern British empire, charting both continuities and moments of change, commonalities and divergences. The discussion will explore the recurrent debates over the 'educability of the native', debates that were central in shaping colonial educational ideologies and practice and the wider distribution of power and social opportunity in colonial societies. It will address the interplay between connection and disconnection, exchange and the weight of the local in shaping education as a 'civilising', 'modernising' and 'reforming' instrument. And it will discuss the contested and changing place of religion in educational projects in a range of modern empire-building. Exploring these questions opens up fundamental questions about empire, colonialism and modernity itself.