The Politics of Knowledge: Rethinking Education and Reform in the Modern British Empire
Free Public Lecture
Education was a crucial transfer point within modern imperial projects; it was a crucial domain through which relationships between the state, religious institutions, various agents of reform, and Indigenous, colonised and enslaved peoples were negotiated. Exploring a range of case studies, this lecture highlights the multiple trajectories of colonial education in the modern British empire, charting both continuities and moments of change, commonalities and divergences. The discussion will explore the recurrent debates over the 'educability of the native', debates that were central in shaping colonial educational ideologies and practice and the wider distribution of power and social opportunity in colonial societies. It will address the interplay between connection and disconnection, exchange and the weight of the local in shaping education as a 'civilising', 'modernising' and 'reforming' instrument. And it will discuss the contested and changing place of religion in educational projects in a range of modern empire-building. Exploring these questions opens up fundamental questions about empire, colonialism and modernity itself.
Professor Tony Ballantyne, University of Otago
Professor Tony Ballantyne
University of Otago
Professor Tony Ballantyne is recognised as a worldleading historian of the modern British empire. He has worked extensively on the development of colonial knowledge, changing understandings of language, religion and race, and the uneven ‘webs’ of exchange and connection that gave the empire shape. He has developed many of these approaches and arguments through his work on the history of the colonial Punjab and the Punjabi diaspora.