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Queen's University

Department of History

Seminar Series - 2014-15 Fall/Winter Schedule:

[Thursdays at 11:30am, Watson 517, unless otherwise specified]


Fall 2014

October 23

Kris Manjapra, Tufts University,

Title: “Outsourcing the Raj: German Science and the Consolidation of British India.”

German interactions with India date back more than 500 years. But the institutions of the British empire, and the place of German-speakers within it, set the stage for unprecedented German-Indian historical entanglements operating at the level of transnational political interests and large-scale societal forces. German Orientalists, missionaries, mercenaries, scientists and technicians may have never enjoyed, first-hand, the grandeur of the British empire, but they contributed in fundamental ways to the practices of British overseas empire.

This paper argues that the global expansion and integration of British world power in the 19th century depended on practices of "imperial outsourcing". In British India, German institutions and personnel played a uniquely critical role in supplying the primary services for establishing effective rule, surveillance strategies and territorial consolidation. The German presence in India, however, would bring about unforeseen and volatile consequences by the late 19th century, in the period of vying nationalisms and imperial conflict.


October 30 - 11:30-1:30

Title: “The Musician As Social Historian: International Perspectives.”

– A Panel Discussion with Dr. Kip Pegley, School of Music, Queen’s; Steffen Jowett, Doctoral Candidate, History Department, Queen’s; Dr. Stuart Henderson, Documentary Film Producer at 90th Parallel Productions; Dr. Joaquín Borges-Triana, Instituto Superio del Arte, Havana; and Xenia Reloba de la Cruz, Casa de las Americas Cultural Centre, Havana.

Musicians are under-appreciated historians. Yet popular music is a vital repository for collective memory. Songwriters help to create what historian George Lipsitz terms an “alternative archives of history,” the experiences, dreams and memories of people who make rare appearances in traditional archives. Despite the innate ability of music to encapsulate the dynamics of lived experience and hence enrich our historical understanding of the era, the typical soundtrack of much contemporary commercially successful music in North America also works to constrain our comprehension. It takes a wide canvas to appreciate the transformative powers of music, which this panel aims to do. Looking across several nations, this panel will attempt to widen the discussions of how musicians act as social chroniclers.


November 6 (Nugent Lecture) - 5:30 p.m. (Robert Sutherland Hall)

Jean Comaroff, Harvard University

“The Return of Khulekani Khumalo, Zombie Captive: Identity, Law, and Paradoxes of Personhood in the Postcolony.”

What might imposture tell us about personhood in ‘postcolonial’ times? About the means of producing selfhood, identity, social viability? While the figure of the false double has long haunted Western ideas of personhood, imposture of various kinds has become ever more striking in late modern times. It is especially common in post-apartheid South Africa, for instance, where identity theft, plagiarism, fakery, even counterfeit crime are everyday occurrences. Taking a celebrated national case – the alleged ‘return’ of a famous Zulu musician who died three years ago – this lecture explores what such acts of imposture might tell us about postcolonial self-fashioning, about personhood under contemporary social conditions, and about the difficulties posed by all this for law, evidence, and the meaning of recognition.


November 20

Charles Maier, Harvard University

“The Territorial Imagination since 1500.”


Winter 2015


January 15

Graduate student works in progress colloquium.


February 5

Catherine Desbarats, McGill University

“Imperial Games: Towards a Historical Ethnography of Early Canada’s Card Money, 1685-1719.”


March 5

Frederik Logevall, Cornell University,

Title:  tba.


March 19 (Sherwood Lecture) - University Club - 5:30 p.m.

Peter Dear, Cornell University

Title:  tba.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000