Animals in the Asylum

Last week I presented a paper as part of a panel on the history of lunatic asylums at the European Association of Southeast Asian Studies’ annual conference, hosted by the University of Vienna. It was the first time that I had returned to the subject of colonial psychiatry since I completed the research for my…

Hunting White Elephants Across Archives

It’s a miserably wet day in Delhi, so I’m using this as an opportunity to catch up on my blog, which has been neglected for the past few weeks. I’m in Delhi, instead of Yangon, in order to use the National Archive of India. This is the first time that I have used this archive….

Rebellion in Burma, Indian Nationalism and the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation Ltd.

This week I visited the London Metropolitan Archives to consult the records of the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation, Ltd. From the late-nineteenth century, this company was the biggest and most influential timber company operating out of Burma.¬† Throughout the colonial period and into the mid-twentieth century, Burma was widely recognised as the world’s principal source…

What’s Colonial in a Name?

In a blog post published a few months ago, Matt Houlbrook, the historian of twentieth-century Britain, wrote about the difficulties he had deciding what name to call the man that he has been studying for over a decade. This ‘trickster prince’ went by many aliases during his life. Matt (if I may?) also discussed the…

Researching Colonial Burma on the Internet

I recently wrote a blog on my experiences using the National Archive of Myanmar for Exeter University’s Global and Imperial History blog. It got me thinking about how much of my research I now conduct online via digitized archives. So, on this post I’m going to flag up some useful places on the internet for…

Archives, Material Histories and Anxieties

At a recent conference on histories of material life in South Asia that I attended there were two excellent papers that touched on the physical creation of archives. The keynote lecture on pre-colonial records in Maharashta,¬†delivered by Rosalind O’Hanlon, described the use of inscribed rocks and copper plates to document and preserve the rites held…