Transcultural Utopian Imagination and the Future

Mahatma Gandhi Arrives in the U.K. (1931) | British Pathé. Source: YouTube

Dr Barnita Bagchi (Modern and Contemporary Literature) discusses her British Academy Visiting Fellowship at The Ruskin Museum of the Near Future

My British Academy Visiting Fellowship, held for two months at The Ruskin – Library, Museum and Research Centre, Lancaster University, from late August to late October 2018, researched transcultural utopian imagination in early 20th-century South Asia.

Utopian imagination

I argue that the visits of Tagore and Gandhi to England in 1930 and 1931 respectively manifest and illuminate Indo-British entanglements in social dreaming or utopian imagination and experimentation.

Indo-British utopian entanglements

The Indo-British utopian entanglements I studied complicate reductive binaries between urban and rural, industry and handicraft, ‘West’ and ‘East’, Britain and India, with the aesthetic and the ethical continuously entangled, in visions of social futures in which cooperation, solidarity, and fellowship were interwoven, to use an image from handicrafts and from the imaginative domain.

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