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Visiting Fellow Lecture 2019 with Dr Nandi -
The Globalisation of Indian Magic

Wednesday 25 September 2019, 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Court Room, Senate House

In the Western world, India evokes an image of mysticism; a home of spirituality, the occult and, for some, the supernatural. But how did India come to enjoy this status of a proverbial land of magic, even in our modern world?

Join the Friends of Senate House library for our 2019 Visiting Fellow Lecture, The Globalisation of Indian Magic, delivered by Dr. Sugata Nandi, Assistant Professor of History at the West Bengal State University, Kolkata.

In 2019, Senate House Library’s Visiting Research Fellow, Dr Sugata Nandi, used Senate House Library’s extensive collections of memoirs, reports, books, illustrations and silent films created by European colonialists to understand how formerly anonymous Indian magicians convinced Westerners, even to this day, of their supernatural powers.

Schedule for the evening

6:30pm: Registration

6:50pm: Presentation by Dr Nandi, followed by a Q&A

8:00pm Reception



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About Dr Sugata Nandi

Dr Sugata Nandi read History at the Presidency College, Kolkata, and the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, from where he earned doctoral degree in 2015. He is employed as Assistant Professor of History at the West Bengal State University, Kolkata and has taught at two colleges earlier.

Currently he is working on the history of globalisation of Indian magic from the late eighteenth to the mid twentieth century and started his 2019 Visiting Research Fellowship at Senate House Library, in partnership with the Friends of Senate House Library on 1 July and will be with us until 30 September 2019

His work centres on how the West Orientalized India by appropriating aspects of its religion, culture and forms of entertainment as magic, and how this in turn generated tensions within Orientalism itself. Nandi started working on this subject from last year, when he was awarded a Visiting Research Fellowship at The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, The University of Edinburgh. His earlier subject of research was history of crime. He worked on violent lower class urban criminals of twentieth century colonial Calcutta, called the goondas. His doctoral thesis was a study of the goondas, their complex interactions with the world of institutional politics and strategies of police surveillance meant to suppress them. He has published five research articles so far and two more are in the pipeline. He has presented papers at twenty international conferences in India and abroad. He lives in Kolkata with wife, Maitreyee, and daughter, Ela.