Colloquium: Stirring Emotions at Home: the British Empire in India

  • Date: Oct 19, 2021
  • Time: 17:00
  • Speaker: Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly, University of Oxford
  • Location: online
  • Host: Center for the History of Emotions

​​​​​​The Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, led by Prof. Ute Frevert, cordially presents its winter semester 2021/2022 colloquium:

Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly, Oxford University

Stirring Emotions at Home: the British Empire of India in Britain

It is essential for a monarch to arouse the emotions of his subjects and the new emperors of the nineteenth century from Napoleon I on went to great trouble to do so. When the British Parliament granted Queen Victoria the title Empress of India in 1876, the first Viceroy set about establishing an emotional connection with the Indian princes through an elaborate ceremony which he called ‘The Imperial Assemblage’, based on an Indian durbar. Victoria’s two successors, Edward VII and George V, were also presented to their Indian subjects in successive durbars in 1903 and 1911 respectively. But how could enthusiasm for the distant Empire of India be awakened in the British back home? How could their emotions be stirred on behalf of a colony that most of them would never see? This paper discusses how this was attempted through the Festival of Empire, the Pageant of Empire and the Masque Imperial in 1911 and through the British Empire Exhibition and the Pageant of Empire in 1924.

Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly is Professor of German Literature at the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. She works on court culture from the Renaissance to the present day, on German literature, gender questions and cultural history. Among her books are Melancholie und die melancholische Landschaft (1978), Triumphal Shews. Tournaments at German-Speaking Courts in their European Context 1560-1730 (1992) and Court Culture in Dresden from Renaissance to Baroque (2002).

She has edited The Cambridge History of German Literature (1997), Spectaculum Europaeum. Theatre and Spectacle in Europe, (1580-1750) with Pierre Béhar (1999) and Europa Triumphans. Court and Civic Festivals in Early Modern Europe with J.R. Mulryne and Margaret Shewring (2004). Her most recent books are Beauty or Beast? The Woman Warrior in the German Imagination from the Renaissance to the Present (2010), Queens Consort, Cultural Transfer and European Politics 1550-1750 with Adam Morton (2016) and Projecting Imperial Power: New Nineteenth Century Emperors and the Public Sphere (2021). In 2012 she was elected a Fellow of the British Academy.

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Meeting ID: 2744 946 1131
Meeting Password: Q8FpWnd8f4N

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