POSTPONED The age of revolutions from the Southwest Indian Ocean
Postponed until further notice in connection with the Corona measures.
This lecture arises out of my forthcoming book Waves Across the South: A New History of Revolution and Empire. This extract from the book will focus on Mauritius as it moved from French to British rule and as it served as a magnet in the age of revolutions.
Lunch Lecture by Sujit Sivasundaram from the University of Cambridge, U.K.
Organised by the Leiden Centre for Indian Ocean Studies (IIAS; KITLV; Leiden University).
This lecture arises out of my forthcoming book Waves Across the South: A New History of Revolution and Empire. This book relocates and repopulates the long-standing historical label of the ‘age of revolutions’, by moving to the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In doing this it charts a lineage of rights, state-making, selfhood and knowledge-making from the global South for this period thus decentring the Euro-Atlantic’s age of revolutions. It also analyses the ascendance of the British empire as a counter-revolt. The book foregrounds specific ‘small seas’ and one of these is the southwest Indian Ocean, encompassing the Cape Colony, Mauritius, Madagascar and the region’s connections with South Asia. This lecture will focus on Mauritius as it moved from French to British rule and as it served as a magnet in the age of revolutions, as news of the French Revolution saw the setting up of republican assemblies and as Mauritius took up a place in the diplomatic politics of the era. A particular focus here is an embassy from Tipu Sultan of Mysore. Mauritius then fell to the British in 1810, though this too was not a watershed nor was it an isolated event in the rise of a British empire across the Indian Ocean. Bids for the colony to be set free from Britain continued into the 1840s. By tracking Mauritius like this, set in a wider oceanic landscape, the aim is to illustrate the potential of working with particular and often forgotten sites set in an Indian ocean landscape which itself was in flux between different modes of politics and imperialism.
Sujit Sivasundaram is Professor of World History at the University of Cambridge; Fellow, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and Director of the University of Cambridge's Centre of South Asian Studies. His previous books include Islanded: Britain, Sri Lanka and the Bounds of an Indian Ocean Colony (2013) and Nature and the Godly Empire: Science and Evangelical Mission in the Pacific, 1795-1850 (2005). In 2012 he won a Philip Leverhulme Prize for History awarded in the UK for distinguished contributions to research by early-career scholars. He works on the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth-century histories of the Indian and Pacific oceans, looking in particular at the intersections of knowledge, culture, indigeneity and empire. His work has intervened in debates on the future of the history of science in a global context. He has also contributed to the historiography of race, environment and oceanic history.