EVENT Mar 05
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Tales from the Grand Trunk Road (NeMLA)

Boston, MA
Organization: Northeast MLA
Event: NeMLA
Categories: British, Medieval, Early Modern & Renaissance, Long 18th Century, Romantics, Victorian, 20th & 21st Century
Event Date: 2020-03-05 to 2020-03-08 Abstract Due: 2019-09-30

The oldest highway in Southern Asia was named the Grand Trunk Road by the British in the 17th century. During the nineteenth century the route carried not just goods for trade, but also British travelers whose numbers increased on the subcontinent as the century progressed. While the Grand Trunk Road was mentioned in Rudyard Kipling’s novel, Kim, many travelers may not have specifically mentioned it in their accounts, but their journeys would have inevitably taken them through such recognizable places on the route like, Calcutta, Delhi, Lahore, and Kabul.

The cultural, intellectual, and geographical differences encountered while on the Grand Trunk Road informed their perceptions of India and colonialism. But, were the disparities distinct between such places and if so, were British travelers able to distinguish the contrasts in India? Or were they incapable of seeing beyond the prescribed descriptions of India in part because their interactions with the colony were limited to the fixed tourist experience that included visiting popular sights, interacting with approved Indians, and socializing with British civil servants and military personnel.

The significance of proposing such a session is to explore whether the movement along this ancient route during the Victorian period expanded or altered how British travelers translated India.

This panel examines 19th-century travel writing or novels that broadly focus on the themes of India and British colonialism through places along the Grand Trunk Road.

Please submit a 250-300 word abstract by the deadline, Monday, September 30, 2019 to the NeMLA portal:  https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/CFP



Ruth Prakasam