Thursday, 30 September 2010

World History and Digital Scholarship conference

Henson Collection. Jubbal, India, c. 1915. © CSAS
29 October 2010

A one-day conference addressing the role played by digital humanities in the history curriculum and in inter-disciplinary research projects.

Organised by The Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge.
Venue: Adrian House, Burrell’s Field, Trinity College, Cambridge.

For registration (until 25 October 2010):
For further information:

Prof. Elizabeth Edwards (University of the Arts London)
Prof. Chris A. Bayly (University of Cambridge)

Dr Kevin Greenbank (CSAS, University of Cambridge)
Dr Lee Grieveson (Centre for Intercultural Studies, UCL)
Susanne Hammacher (RAI, London)
Nico de Klerk (Film Instituut Nederland)
Dr Sean Lang (Anglia Ruskin University)
Dr Mathew Mead (University of the Arts London)
Dr Annamaria Motrescu (CSAS, University of Cambridge)
Dr Heather Norris-Nicholson (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Susannah Rayner (SOAS, London)
Dr Susan Whitfield (British Library, London)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Indian Hemp Drugs Commission

Harding-Simpole is a publishing house which specialises in books which are often difficult to find.Some of these will be reprints that are rare or impossible to obtain through the usual channels.
In association with the National Library of Scotland, they have published a facsimile reprint of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission report of 1893-94.
This report is the most comprehensive study on the effects of cannabis use ever undertaken. 1,455 witnesses were cross-examined in 86 meetings in 36 cities throughout India.

This reprint includes including rare photographs of cannabis cultivation, production and consumption.
There are some fascinating case studies: “[When] he [a soldier in the 13th Regiment] went on leave and lost some relations from cholera … he took to immoderate smoking, which resulted in madness …he was a raving maniac – violent, obstreperous.”
Anyone studying narcotics will find this work compelling, especially as it appears that the same debates still rage now, for example: should the use of cannabinoids for medicinal purposes be approved?

“It has been clearly established that the occasional use of hemp in moderate doses may be beneficial; but this use may be regarded as medicinal in character.”

This publication is also available on Amazon and at the National Library of Scotland.

Securing the future of elephants in India

Photo by James Gaither (Flickr, Creative Commons)
The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, has recently published a
report by the Elephant Task Force, titled: Securing the Future for Elephants in India.(August 31, 2010). The report is available online in pdf format at:

The report includes chapters on monitoring systems, securing elephant corridors, poaching, the care of captive elephants, mitigating the human-elephant conflict and recommendations on governance and law.

Friday, 10 September 2010

South Asians Making Britain 1858-1950 Interactive timeline launched

An interactive timeline relating to the South Asian contribution to Britain from 1858 to 1950 has just been launched on the Guardian's website at

This timeline has been produced in collaboration with the Making Britain project.

Tackling stereotypes and reconfiguring the nation’s understanding of how South Asians have helped shape Britain, the Making Britain project reveals and celebrates the unsung contribution of South Asians to Britain 1870-1950

Further details of the Making Britain project are available at

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Open Cambridge, Open Libraries

Image credit: Centre of South Asian Studies
University of Cambridge
The Library at the Centre of South Asian Studies in Cambridge will be open to the public on Saturday 11th September from 10 am - 1 pm.

Come and view photographs, artwork and home movies shot in India 1911 - 1956, and listen to archive recordings in which men and women reflect on events and issues they experienced during that period.

Many other libraries and buildings will be open too for the Open Cambridge weekend - For a full listing see:

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Discover how South Asians shaped the Nation, 1870-1950

New online database launched
Discover how South Asians shaped the Nation, 1870-1950
This exciting new database provides online information on over 450 South Asians in Britain from 1870 to 1950, the organizations they were involved in, their British connections and the major events in which they participated.
Designed as an interactive tool, it offers engaging and innovative search and browsing options, including a timeline, location maps, and web diagrams modelled on social networking sites which highlight South Asians' interactions and relationships in Britain at the time.
The database also provides information on selected source materials, bibliographical references and archive details for researchers interested in the South Asian presence in Britain and will be an invaluable research tool.
Each entry points to the focus of the ‘Making Britain’ research project, emphasising the connections between South Asians and Britons that took place in Britain itself during this period, and offers an exciting window on South Asian contributions to British life.
Working in partnership with the British Library, ‘Making Britain’ is a project led by the Open University in collaboration with Oxford University and King’s College, London. The project’s main aim is to highlight the impact on Britain of the presence of a South Asian diasporic community in the period 1870-1950.
The Making Britain database is launching at the conference ‘Bharat Britain: South Asians Making Britain, 1870-1950’ at the British Library Conference Centre on 13-14 September 2010. For further information please visit:
The database can be accessed free of charge through the British Library’s ‘Asians in Britain’ research page:


Company paintings

Miniature painted on mica (© Cambridge University Library,
RCS collections)

The SAALG website now hosts a link to the excellent paper presented by Dr Crispin Branfoot at SAALG's Oxford conference on 1st July 2010 - Professions and processions in 19th century South India: a Company album in the SOAS Library.  It also includes a related article by Dr Branfoot published in Orientations, November 2007: Painting processions, social and religious landscape of Southern India in a "Company" album.

Together the papers provide a fascinating picture of Company painting in India.

Dr Branfoot is Senior Lecturer in South Asian Art and Archaeology at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Friday, 3 September 2010

News from the Ancient India & Iran Trust

The Ancient India and Iran Trust newsletter has been relaunched as Indiran, and the Spring/Summer 2010 issue is now available for download in pdf format at

The Trust is to be congratulated on this impressive publication, which opens with an obituary of Raymond Allchin, a legend in South Asian archaeology, and includes an interview with Christine van Ruymbeke on Persian poetry, an article on the conservation of Asian vultures and a report on their recent conference on Sri Lanka.