Chronologies of famine and dearth in India and Britain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries run uncannily parallel. Through rapid increase of British travel to India, there developed not only shared anxieties about the finitude of resources but also shared knowledge networks and ethical engagement with questions of food production, availability, and distribution among pre-colonial British and Indian communities.
These concerns were represented and circulated across a variety of languages, literary texts, and artistic images — whether official legislation, illustrated courtly chronicles, popular fiction, religious poetry, travel accounts, scientific experiments and receipt books, or sketches and paintings.
This talk will selectively analyze such representations, clustered round specific instances of famine and dearth in the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries, exploring their production of a mixed, Anglo-Indian discourse of scarcity, which forged connections, not just oppositions, between poetic/prosaic, sacred/profane, official/popular, courtly/rustic, English/vernacular, Britain/India.
Tuesday, March 20 at 11:10am
Cheever Room in Finn House
102 West Wiggin Street, Gambier, OH 43022