What We’re Reading – Visual Fragments: Hong Kong in British Culture, 1841-1941

QandA with Chi Chi Huang and Emma Thomas, 12 October 2021 Chi Chi Huang is an environmental and medical humanities historian of the British Empire in the nineteenth and earlyContinue reading “What We’re Reading – Visual Fragments: Hong Kong in British Culture, 1841-1941”

What We’re Reading: QandA with Jarrod Hore on ‘Settlers in Earthquake Country’

Jarrod Hore and Chi Chi Huang, 28 September 2021. ‘Settlers in earthquake country’ examines how two slightly different colonial societies responded to seismic instability throughout the late nineteenth century. Focusing on two earthquakes in Aotearoa New Zealand and two in California, I align the temporality of natural disaster with an economic temporality of settler colonial boom and bust. In contrast to more recent disasters, such as the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, settlers in earlier times often confronted seismic instability with optimism and enthusiasm. Despite some dissenting voices, most settlers were quick to resume their speculation on colonial markets in both Wellington in 1855 after the huge Wairarapa earthquake and in San Francisco after the 1868 Hayward quake. Shifts in the faults underlying Wellington and San Francisco could produce opportunities to reclaim land, improve infrastructure, and reiterate settler control.

Painting the Perfect Family

Aprajita Sarcar, 8 September 2021. The image you see was first published in April 1968. It appeared in a newsletter published by the Department of Family Planning, India. The department no longer exists and the newsletter died shortly after 1977. The image, along with the newsletter become artifacts of a nation, which was in the second decade of its independent existence. It also showcases a unique campaign advocating family planning.

What We’re Reading: QandA with Aprajita Sarcar

Last month, the Laureate Centre Reading Group read the work of Aprajita Sarcar, a New Delhi–based scholar of population history in post-independence India. She is in the process of converting her doctoral research into her first monograph and she shared two samples of her work with us: a chapter from her recently-completed PhD and the introduction to her book-in-the-making.

Food Security

In 1943, agriculturalists, economists, physicians, and international policy-makers met in Hot Springs, Virginia, a gathering that pre-empted what was to become the first agency of the new United Nations: the Food and Agriculture Organisation. The sinister backdrop was devastating famine in Bengal, in parts of China, and millions hungry in the USSR. A world food crisis was declared, and food and population were immediately linked in grand plans for the postwar era. This manifested as national politics as much as international politics over the turbulent late 1940s.