Thyssen Lecture: Sumathi Ramaswamy (Duke University) at the GHI London

Kim Koenig's picture
October 11, 2022
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Contemporary History, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, South Asian History / Studies, British History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

Science, Knowledge, and the Legacy of Empire

The imperial and colonial contexts in which modern science and scholarship came of age haunt us to this day. Be it the origin of museum collections, the Eurocentrism of history textbooks and academic curricula, or the lack of minority ethnic university staff—the shadows of an imperial past loom large upon us today.

The German Historical Institute London is proud to announce its collaboration with the Fritz Thyssen Foundation in the form of a new lecture series on Science, Knowledge, and the Legacy of Empire. The eight-lecture series, planned for 2022–26, will engage with the field of imperial science and the analytical category of ‘colonial knowledge’, and explore their afterlives in recent, twenty-first century history in Britain, Germany, and beyond. The series consists of two lectures a year, in May and October, which will be delivered by distinguished international scholars. The lectures will take place at the GHIL in Bloomsbury Square and be repeated at a British university outside Greater London.

We will address questions such as: how do imperial legacies shape present-day academia and knowledge production? How are the colonial past, and obligations arising from it, debated today? What role do they play in political relations within Europe, and in Europe’s relations with the non-European world?

The first lecture of the series will be given by Sumathi Ramaswamy, James B. Duke Professor of History at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA, on 11 October 2022 at 5.30pm (GHI London) and 13 October 2022 at 5pm (Cardiff University). She will talk on “Imagining India in the Empire of Science”.

The Fritz Thyssen Foundation was established on 7 July 1959 in memory of August and Fritz Thyssen. It was the first large private individual foundation promoting science and research to be founded in the Federal Republic of Germany after the Second World War. It supports research in the fields of history, language, and culture, in the study of the state, economy, and society, and in medicine.

The German Historical Institute London, founded in 1976, is dedicated to the promotion of historical research in the United Kingdom and Germany. It focuses on the comparative history of Britain and Germany, the global and colonial history of the British Empire and Commonwealth, and the history of British–German relations and transfers. More recently, through its India Research Programme, the GHIL has also built close links with scholars in South Asia. The Institute runs academic lectures and conferences, supports international networks, provides research training, awards prizes to outstanding scholars, and offers advice to collaborative projects involving German and British researchers.

To find out more about our new lecture series and to get your free ticket for the first lecture at the GHIL on 11 October 2022, please visit our website at

Contact Info: 

Kim König

PR and Events Officer

German Historical Institute London

(+44) (0) 20 7309 2033

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