Wednesday, November 6, 2019

LOC South Asian Collections Webinar

Hat-tip to AIIS for sharing information about an upcoming webinar. The Asian Division at the Library of Congress will be offering a free introduction to its South Asian collections on November 21, 2019. ADA accommodations are available.

Direct link:

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

How Kelsey Utne Does History

Contingent Magazine has a new series on how historians work. First up: "How Kelsey Utne Does History". Utne is a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell, working on the politics of human remains and the memorialization of death in late colonial India. In the spring, she's teaching a writing seminar called "Landscapes of Death: Memorials, Monuments, & Massacre Sites."

Direct link:

Monday, June 17, 2019

Arts of South Asia

Why this book excites me:

Arts of South Asia offers "a collective approach to previously unrecorded histories about how the arts of South Asia were sourced for external appreciation and about a variety of economic, political, and social forces that enabled 'collecting.'" [p1]  While I'm mostly interested in the sections exploring artworks that have been "kidnapped" (authors' word), the book also deals with art that has been produced for "translocal consumers," with local and possibly global circulation in mind.

I'm also intrigued by the chapter on Coomaraswamy, for obvious reasons, but also because he played such a large role in shaping the Indian painting collection at the Boston MFA

Arts of South Asia: Cultures of Collecting 
Allysa B. Peyton and Katherine Anne Paul, Editors
University Press of Florida, 2019
ISBN 9781683400479
Hardcover, 296 pages, $65.00

Table of Contents:

Introduction (Allysa B. Peyton & Katherine Anne Paul)

Chapter One: “Relating to a Country So Distant”: Collecting South Asian Arms and Armor at the Tower of London during the Nineteenth Century (Natasha Bennett)

Chapter Two: Objects across Empire The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (Deepali Dewan)

Chapter Three: Colonial Collecting in Ceylon: Dispersing the Hugh Nevill Collections across the British Isles (Sushma Jansari)

Chapter Four: “We Want Quality and Condition”: The Formation of Chester Beatty’s South Asian Manuscripts and Miniatures Collection (Hyder Abbas)

Chapter Five: Collecting with Éclat: Coomaraswamy and the Framing of Indian Art in American Museums  (Brinda Kumar)

Chapter Six: Nasli Heeramaneck: The Consummate Collector and Connoisseur (Pratapaditya Pal)

Chapter Seven: Masterworks of South Asian Art at the Newark Museum: From Missionaries, Merchants, Medical Women and Men (Katherine Anne Paul)

Chapter Eight: Collecting and Curating Indian Art in Southeast Asia The Asian Civilisations Museum and the Indian Heritage Centre, Singapore (Gauri Parimoo Krishnan)

Chapter Nine: Returning “Home”: The Journey and Afterlife of Repatriated Objects (Melody Rod-ari)

Appendix A. Publicly Accessible Collections of South Asian Art outside South Asia

Appendix B. Higher Education Programs for South Asian Studies

Appendix C. Selected Histories of Global Collecting

All India Museum Summit 2019

Last December AIIS received a grant to hold a three-day Museum and Heritage Conservation Summit meant to "bring together museum professionals in India including curators, administrators and conservationists, as well as some alumni of the Art Conservationist Fellowships, [so they can] engage with each other and American counterparts on important aspects of running museums and other heritage institutions in the twenty-first century, and . . . share best practices and develop creative, innovative, and sustainable programs." At the end of the summit, a white paper on advancing India's museums will be drafted for the Ministry of Culture, Government of India,

I recently received an announcement indicating that the summit will take place on July 22, 23, and 24, 2019 at the India International Centre, New Delhi.

Visit for more information.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Resource: Families in British India Society

I don't work in colonial history, but if you do, the Families in British India Society may be of some use. Check out their page of research advice at Most importantly for those of limited funds and mobility, the FIBIS can offer assistance in searching records at the British Library and other London archives. The current membership fee is £15.00 / year.