The politics of friendship and cosmopolitan thought zones at the end of empire: Indian women’s study tours to Europe 1934–38

In History Australia, Taylor and Francis Online 2 September 2018

Jane Haggis


This article considers one of the first series of study tour groups for young Indian women in the mid-1930s, organised under the auspices of the Geneva-based International Student Service. Led by Mrs Alexandrena Datta, wife of the Indian Christian nationalist leader S.K. Datta, the tours took groups of 20 women students and young professionals from diverse faith, caste and ethnic backgrounds on four-month study tours across Europe, visiting progressive social and educational programmes and reform-minded people. Combining albums of the tours assembled by Mrs Datta and the published accounts of the 1935 tour by a participant, Mrs Kuttan Nair, images and text are deconstructed to identify how a politics of friendship within a global imperial social formation emerges. The article argues that the politics of friendship discernible in the remnant archive of the tours was part of a cosmopolitan thought zone that linked a nationalist and structuralist critique of imperial modernity to a vision of Indian women as agentic anti-colonial subjects.

Keywords: Politics of friendshipcosmopolitan thought zoneIndian womenstudy toursimperial social formation
Complete text may be found here.

‘I am a British subject’: Indians in Australia claiming their rights, 1880–1940

In History Australia, Taylor and Francis Online 20 August 2018

Margaret Allen

Abstract: In researching little-known aspects of Australian political history, this article explores the ways in which Indians living in Australia during the period of immigration restriction used their status as British subjects to argue for greater rights in relation to the colonial, state and Australian federal governments. Australian Indians were politically informed and active, sharing a common consciousness of their rights. Extending earlier work on resident Indian protests against the Immigration Restriction Act, the article demonstrates their engagement with a transnational movement of resistance against discriminatory racial legislation. In their campaigns they enlisted the assistance of the Indian National Congress and other bodies outside Australia.

Keywords: India, Australia, transnational history, British subjects, transnational Indian resistance

Complete text may be found here.

Sexuality, Nationalism, and ‘Race’: Humanitarian Debate about Indian Indenture in Fiji, 1910–18


Fiona Paisley

Paisley, Labour History
Complete collection of abstracts for this edition of Labour History may be found here.

Cosmopolitan Lives on the Cusp of Empire: Interfaith, Cross-Cultural and Transnational Networks, 1860-1950

Jane Haggis, Clare Midgley, Margaret Allen and Fiona Paisley

This book looks back to the period 1860 to 1950 in order to grasp how alternative visions of amity and co-existence were forged between people of faith, both within and resistant to imperial contact zones. It argues that networks of faith and friendship played a vital role in forging new vocabularies of cosmopolitanism that presaged the post-imperial world of the 1950s. In focussing on the diverse cosmopolitanisms articulated within liberal transnational networks of faith it is not intended to reduce or ignore the centrality of racisms, and especially hegemonic whiteness, in underpinning the spaces and subjectivities that these networks formed within and through. Rather, the book explores how new forms of cosmopolitanism could be articulated despite the awkward complicities and liminalities inhabited by individuals and characteristic of cosmopolitan thought zones.

Available through Palgrave:
Cosmopolitan Lives on the Cusp of Empire: Interfaith, Cross-Cultural and Transnational Networks, 1860 – 1950