Sumathi Ramaswamy
Das Weltmachen Indiens

Thyssen Lectues 2022-2026 – Science, Knowledge, and the Legacy of Empire,
zweisprachige Ausgabe (Deutsch, Englisch), 85 Seiten
Verlag der Buchhandlung Klaus Bittner, 2023, 12,-€
ISBN: 978-3-926397-59-1

The „Thyssen Lectures“ are a continuation of a tradition that the Fritz Thyssen Foundation initiated in 1979, first at various institutions throughout Germany, and then at several universities in Czechia, Israel, the Russian Federation, Turkey, and most recently Greece. The series in the United Kingdom and Ireland will be held ove a period of four years. Spearheaded by Prof. Christina von Hodenberg, director of the German Historical Insitute London, it will be dedicated to the overarching theme of „Science, Knowledge, and the Legacy of Empire“.

Sumathi Ramaswamy’s lecture focuses on a range of modern disciplinary formations known generally as earth sciences – especially geography and cartography – and explores how these sciences „worlded“ one specific location on the earth’s surface, „India“, as a knowable, calculable, intelligible, and masterable place over the course of two centuries of British colonial rule. The lecture goes beyond the processes of imperial world-making: using three examples, Ramaswamy shows how the people of India responded to and engaged with such processes in very different ways, and very often on their own terms. Following Dipesh Chakrabaty, she demonstrates that for worldmaking projects in colonial and postcolonial India, the empire’s gift of science is indispensable but inadequate.

Sumathi Ramaswamy is James B. Duke Professor of History at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA. She has published extensively on language politics, gender studies, spatial studies and the history of art, and more recently, digital humanities and the history of philanthropy in modern India. Her published writings in global history include Terrestrial Lessons: The Conquest of the World as Globe, and Empires of Vision (co-edited). She is a co-founder of Tasveerghar: A Digital Network of South Asian Popular Visual Culture. Her most recent works are Gandhi in the Gallery: The Art of Disobedience (New Dehli: Roli Books), a digital project on children’s art titled B is for Bapu: Gandhi in the Art of the Child in Modern India, and a co-edited volume (with Monica Juneja) titled Motherland: Pushpamala N.’s Woman and Nation (New Dehli: Roli Books, 2022). She is currently working on a new project on educational philanthropy in British India.

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