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CHS organises a seminar by Dr. Ruchika Sharma

CHS organises a seminar by Dr. Ruchika Sharma

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CHS organises a seminar by Dr. Ruchika Sharma
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Centre for Historical Studies
Jawaharlal Nehru University

organising a lecture on

Concubinage, Race, and Law in Early Colonial Bengal


Dr. Ruchika Sharma
Assistant Professor
Mata Sundari College, University of Delhi

On 27th September 2023
in Room No. 326, CHS, SSS-III at 3 PM.


Abstract: The presentation will analyze the history of interracial households and domestic relations that British men came to establish with native Indian women in early colonial Bengal. On the basis of a large number of wills left by the British men who came to India in an official or economic capacity, it will be demonstrated that these wills were unique personal records in which men penned down details of their native mistresses, household objects, everyday affairs, and non-marital cohabitation. Issues of theft, violence, rape, bequeathment, and property rights which the women had to contend with, and the experiences of the mixed-race children who were a product of these relationships are some of the themes that will be discussed.

Dr. Ruchika Sharma is currently an Assistant Professor in History at Mata Sundri College. She was awarded the 'Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Book Writing Fellowship’ in 2019. Dr. Sharma has published widely on themes of mixed-race domesticities, legal archives, nautch women, European travel literature, literary figures of sakhi/duti in the Riti poetry, and service culture.  An expert on the history of gender in medieval and early modern India, Dr. Sharma is the author of a monograph titled Concubinage, Race and Law in Early Colonial Bengal. Bequeathing Intimacy, Servicing the Empire, recently published by Routledge, Taylor, and Francis Group.

A warm welcome to the modified and updated website of the Centre for East Asian Studies. The East Asian region has been at the forefront of several path-breaking changes since 1970s beginning with the redefining the development architecture with its State-led development model besides emerging as a major region in the global politics and a key hub of the sophisticated technologies. The Centre is one of the thirteen Centres of the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi that provides a holistic understanding of the region.

Initially, established as a Centre for Chinese and Japanese Studies, it subsequently grew to include Korean Studies as well. At present there are eight faculty members in the Centre. Several distinguished faculty who have now retired include the late Prof. Gargi Dutt, Prof. P.A.N. Murthy, Prof. G.P. Deshpande, Dr. Nranarayan Das, Prof. R.R. Krishnan and Prof. K.V. Kesavan. Besides, Dr. Madhu Bhalla served at the Centre in Chinese Studies Programme during 1994-2006. In addition, Ms. Kamlesh Jain and Dr. M. M. Kunju served the Centre as the Documentation Officers in Chinese and Japanese Studies respectively.

The academic curriculum covers both modern and contemporary facets of East Asia as each scholar specializes in an area of his/her interest in the region. The integrated course involves two semesters of classes at the M. Phil programme and a dissertation for the M. Phil and a thesis for Ph. D programme respectively. The central objective is to impart an interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding of history, foreign policy, government and politics, society and culture and political economy of the respective areas. Students can explore new and emerging themes such as East Asian regionalism, the evolving East Asian Community, the rise of China, resurgence of Japan and the prospects for reunification of the Korean peninsula. Additionally, the Centre lays great emphasis on the building of language skills. The background of scholars includes mostly from the social science disciplines; History, Political Science, Economics, Sociology, International Relations and language.

Several students of the centre have been recipients of prestigious research fellowships awarded by Japan Foundation, Mombusho (Ministry of Education, Government of Japan), Saburo Okita Memorial Fellowship, Nippon Foundation, Korea Foundation, Nehru Memorial Fellowship, and Fellowship from the Chinese and Taiwanese Governments. Besides, students from Japan receive fellowship from the Indian Council of Cultural Relations.