De/siring India: Representations through British and French Eyes (1584-1857)

January 18, 2016 to January 19, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Asian History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies, Literature

Concept Note

Since Columbus’s failure and Vasco da Gama’s successful trip to India the Europeans have time and again undertaken travels to discover India, to trade, to proselytize, to make both material and spiritual gains. In the process their desire for discovering the ‘other’ and analyzing the ‘self’ through this discovery led to the siring/begetting of many ‘India’s. This conference will focus on two nations, the British and the French, not only because they were rival colonial powers but also because the motives, means and ends achieved by them in their discovery and representation of India were heterogeneous and multiform. From Ralph Fitch’s arrival in India in 1584 to the Sepoy Mutiny, a landmark event altering colonial relations for ever, the proposed period of examination offers innumerable opportunities of looking at the ‘marvelous possessions’ of the British and the French in India; these cultural pilgrims and colonial aggressors were in their turns possessed by the magic of alterity, the enchantment of desiring and begetting novel representations of India through their travel writings, letters, diaries, journals, reports and illustrations as well as paintings. Whether it is Fitch at Akbar’s court or Tavernier at Shah Jahan’s, the moments of encounter always produced different resonances, antiphonic music, paradigms of alterity. The conference will address the following issues:

Travelogue and narrative theory, Journey and the self, Culture and alterity, Material culture and its fluidity, Visualizing difference, Anthropology and travel, Hybridity and identity, Women and representation, Nation and diplomacy, Religion and mysticism, Desire and Utopia, Music and Colonialism.

Contact Info: 

Dr. Niranjan Goswami                                                            Head, Department of English & Seminar Convenor                                                        

Online Registration Fee: (Please wire transfer to CONVENOR, D.I.R.T.B.F.E. SEMINAR COMMITTEE;

A/C No. 35088429507, State Bank of India, Chandernagore Branch, Barabazar, Chandannagar, Chandernagore, Hooghly, Dist. Hooghly West Bengal 712136 IFS Code: SBIN0000053

Individuals: Rs. 800/- The last date for online registration is 15 Dec. 2015.

On Spot Registration: Rs. 1000/-  For On Spot Registration please send your name by e-mail to

Students and M.Phil/PhD Scholars: Rs. 500/-


Contact:  Dr. Antara Mukherjee +919832133681 

   Dr. Abin Chakraborty +919830239959

   Ms. Sunrita Chakravarti +919433764596