Festschrift for Professor Peter Robb (SOAS)

Event Date: 10 April 2018
Royal Asiatic Society
14 Stephenson Way
London NW1 2HD


The Royal Asiatic Society presents:

Festschrift for Professor Peter Robb (SOAS)

In this celebratory book launch of Memory, Identity and the Colonial Encounter in India: Essays in Honour of Peter Robb, the volume’s editors will join in conversation with Professor Peter Robb and other distinguished panellists to discuss various analytical approaches to rethinking relationships between memory and identity during the period of British rule in the subcontinent.

This festschrift is a tribute to Professor Peter Robb’s seminal contributions to a range of important debates in modern South Asian history. The papers in the volume are written by both senior and early career scholars in the field, and many of these were presented at the SOAS history conference ‘Ideologies and Institutions: a conference to celebrate the career and works of Peter Robb’, in September 2013. Drawing broadly from Robb’s lecture transcript on memorials included in the book, the volume also engages with some of his other works.

The publication of this collection of essays in the year of the SOAS centenary, in late 2017, coincided with the 70th year of India and Pakistan’s commemoration of independence and the Partition of 1947, prompting a renewed interest in examining the legacy of the British Raj. Memory studies have proliferated in recent years based on an emotional understanding of the past, but with a few exceptions, they have predominantly focused on Partition and its aftermath in South Asia. The editors deviate from this frame to explore the memory of colonialism and imperialism by critically engaging with the ideas of encounters and emerging identities.

By focusing on interactions, relations and underlying meanings of the colonial experience, the volume re-evaluates central, long-standing debates about the historical impact of the Raj. The issues of memory, identity and the legacy of the colonial encounter are woven together in a diverse range of essays on subjects such as colonial and nationalist memorials; British, Eurasian, Dalit and Adivasi identities; regional political configurations; and state initiatives and patterns of control.


Chair Introduction: Dr Gordon Johnson (President, The Royal Asiatic Society)
Editors’ Introduction: Dr Ezra Rashkow (Montclair, US), Dr Sanjukta Ghosh (SOAS)
Panel Speakers: Prof Francis Robinson (RAS & Royal Holloway), Prof Ananya Jahanara Kabir (King’s College, London) and Prof Edward Simpson (SOAS South Asia Institute)
Editors in Conversation with Prof Peter Robb (SOAS & RAS)
Concluding Remarks: Dr Clive Dewey (Leicester) and Dr Eleanor Newbigin (SOAS, History Department)

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