Search results

Abstract only
Vision, visibility and power in colonial India

Beyond its simple valorisation as a symbol of knowledge and progress in post-Enlightenment narratives, light was central to the visual politics and imaginative geographies of empire. Empires of Light describes how imperial designations of ‘cities of light’ and ‘hearts of darkness’ were consonant with the dynamic material culture of light in the nineteenth-century industrialisation of light (in homes, streets, theatres, etc.) and its instrumentalisation through industries of representation. Empires of Light studies the material effects of light as power through the drama of imperial vision and its engagement with colonial India. It evaluates responses by the celebrated Indian painter Ravi Varma (1848–1906) to claim the centrality of light in imperial technologies of vision, not merely as an ideological effect but as a material presence that produces spaces and inscribes bodies.

Abstract only

Alongside an industrial empire of light, Burke’s vision of a conquering empire therefore summons the light of empire, as light assumes a significant place within an imperial optics and its engagement with the colonial world. Even as light featured as a symbol of knowledge and progress in postEnlightenment narratives, it was central to the visual politics and imaginative geographies of empire. Geographical spaces were mapped in terms of ‘cities of light’ and ‘hearts of darkness’, and ‘the civilising mission’ employed iconographies of torches or the lifting of the veil

in Empires of light