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Cosmopolitanism and Empire

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Duration: 0:16:09 | Added: 05 Apr 2016
Elleke Boehmer considers the cosmopolitan outlooks, experiences and values of Indian travellers to the west in the late 19th century.

In the late 19th c a set of remarkable Indian ‘arrivants’ – scholars, poets, religious seekers, and political activists – began, as novelist Amitav Ghosh describes it, 'travelling in the west'. They included Toru Dutt and Sarojini Naidu, Mohandas Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore. In this paper I examine how their travel to and presence on British shores and involvement with various Britons had a shaping effect on how cosmopolitan life in the imperial capital was conceived, and, therefore, on how intercultural hospitality was expressed – especially at a time, as we remember, of high imperialism, and of outright racism especially in the imperial frontier.

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