Conscience and Victorian Empire: How History Helped Make History in British India

Jun. 9, 2021

Priya Satia, professor of history at Stanford University, explores the ways in which Victorian thinkers drew on a historical sensibility to understand and justify British rule in India. By deferring ethical judgment to the future, historical thinking enabled well-meaning Britons to engage in imperial activities, including the brutal repression of colonial resistance, with mostly clear consciences. The role of historical thinking in Victorian imperialism keeps events such as the Indian rebellion of 1857 at the center of contemporary debates about how and why we study history. This event is the inaugural program of the Kathleen Peck Victorian Studies Series. Future activities will draw on the collections of the Art Museum, the Library, and the Gardens to promote knowledge of the Victorians and their times.

 

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