We have been delighted to host a number of outstanding lectures at the Society over the past several weeks. On Wednesday 1 June, the Society hosted a guest lecture which saw Professor William Lubenow (Stockton University) speak on “West to East/East to West: the Royal Asiatic Society and Western knowledge of Asia”. Professor Lubenow spoke about the origins of the Society, and discussed how information and knowledge about Asia flowed both from Asia to Europe as well as from Europe to Asia.
The lecture discussed the important role played by the Society in the nineteenth century, not only as an academic body but also as a social and intellectual network fulfilling a crucial role in the lives of many prominent Orientalists, who were often not affiliated to major institutions such as universities or museums. At a time when the university system was comparatively underdeveloped and cut off from large sections of the population, learned societies like the RAS had a particularly important role to play in the formation and dissemination of knowledge. Professor Lubenow also provided biographical detail about several leading but largely unstudied members of the RAS in the nineteenth century, identifying common themes in their backgrounds, personalities and interests. The lecture was followed by a discussion and reception.
Last Thursday, 26 May, we hosted the latest event in our Britain-Nepal, 1816-2016 bicentenary series. The lecture was titled “Artist in residence: Celia Washington and the Kathmandu Contemporary Arts Centre”. Celia, who is a practising artist based in London and Kathmandu, set up the Centre in Kathmandu in 2007, which is based in the garden of the Patan Museum. You can read more about the KCAC and its inspiring exhibitions and other activities on its website at www.kathmanduarts.org/Kathmandu_Arts/home.html
We have more lectures coming up. Next week sees the last event in our 2015-2016 Main Lecture Series, when Professor Sarah Ansari will lecture at 6pm on Thursday 9 June on the subject of “India at War: the Bombay Presidency’s ‘Home Front’, 1914-1918”. Sarah Ansari is Professor of History at Royal Holloway, and is also the editor of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. We hope you will join us for this fascinating evening.