Keywords for India: Empire

Free Public Lecture

Keywords for India: Empire

To some, 'empire' in the context of India/South Asia is necessarily a reference to the British Raj, especially after 1858. But the term actually has a much more general usage. It is used to refer to the large political formations of the classical period, such as those of the Mauryas, Kushanas or Guptas; then to some later formations such as Vijayanagara and the Mughals. At the same time, there is a tendency to speak of certain periods as being 'between empires'.

This lecture will address three related questions: the use of the term 'empire' in global history, and various successful and less successful attempts to define it; its use in Indian contexts, and what (if anything) it translates; and whether elements of empire can still be found in the Indian political system as it exists today.


  • Professor Sanjay  Subrahmanyam
    Professor Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Distinguished Professor & Irving and Jean Stone Endowed Chair in Social Sciences