The British Empire’s ability to organize a disparate series of territories into a single entity rests upon the circulation of files. Empire is a communicative system and as such relies upon a material base of files, memos, dispatches and other documents that organized how that transmission takes place. These are what the media theorist Bernhard Siegert has referred to as ‘inconspicuous technologies of knowledge’, the material base that has often been the unexamined, taken-for-granted infrastructure that allows Empire to operate.
Filing Empire examines the infrastructure of communication in British Empire. Bringing together scholars working on different periods of British rule and in relation to different ends of Empire, we trace the establishment, and routinization of British imperial communication, how it changed over time and whether these communicative modes shaped the operation and character of what we call the British Empire.
Participants: Devyani Gupta, Matthew Hull, Zoë Laidlaw, Brian Larkin, Peter Mitchell, Asheesh Siddique.
The workshop is based on advanced reading of published articles and short position statements by workshop participants. It is open to all. Those who wish to attend must register and commit to reading the material in advance. Registration can be completed here.
Filing Empire schedule
Welcome, opening comments
Respondent: Brian Larkin
Respondent: Asheesh Siddique
Respondent: Matthew Hull
Respondent: Peter Mitchell
Respondent: Zoe Laidlaw
Respondent: Devyani Gupta