Upcoming Events

On 5th July, the Royal Asiatic Society, in collaboration with Southampton University, will host the conference New Worlds of the East India Company. The conference will draw together many scholars working in this interesting field in a full programme of panels covering:

  • Beginnings, Ends, and Legacies
  • Labour, Knowledge, and Networks
  • Art and Visual Culture
  • Protest and Scandal

Update 24/06 – please note that this event has now sold out.

The day will have the following timetable:

9.30. Coffee

9:45. Introduction: John McAleer (Southampton) and Joshua Ehrlich (Macau)

10:00. Panel 1: Beginnings, Ends, and Legacies

  • Rupali Mishra (Auburn): ‘The “Idea” of Government and Authority in the Early East India Company’
  • Guido van Meersbergen (Warwick): ‘Revisiting East India Company Diplomacy: The William Norris Embassy to Mughal India (1699–1702)’
  • Giorgio Riello (EUI) and Guillemette Crouzet (EUI): ‘Rethinking “French” and “British” India: The “Diary” of Ananda Ranga Pillai’
  • John McAleer (Southampton): ‘“In the spacious times of old”: The Afterlife of the East India Company, 1899–1909’

11:30. Panel 2: Labour, Knowledge, and Networks

  • Margaret Makepeace (British Library): ‘The World of the East India Company London Warehouse Labourers, 1800–1858’
  • Jessica Hanser (Copenhagen): ‘Slavery, Servitude, and the East India Company in China’
  • Anna Winterbottom (McGill): ‘Politics of Medicine and Natural Knowledge in Madras, c. 1789–1809’
  • Joshua Ehrlich (Macau): ‘Two Muttiahs and the Making of Company Power in South India’

13:00. Lunch

14:00. Panel 3: Art and Visual Culture

  • Rishad Choudhury (Oberlin): ‘A Portrait of the Mercenary as a Nobleman: Persianate Prosopography and Colonial Portraiture in Company School Art’
  • Jennifer Howes (Independent): ‘“A Needless Profusion”: The East India Company’s unwitting Patronage of the Arts under Richard Wellesley (1800–1805)’
  • Tom Young (Courtauld): ‘Amateur Art and the East India Company’s Civil Service, c. 1800–58’
  • Brooke Krancer (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven) and Anita Dey (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven), ‘Chromatic Confluence: The East India Company and the Materiality of British Art’

15.30. Tea

16:00. Panel 4: Protest and Scandal

  • Cheryl Fury (University of New Brunswick): ‘“I willed no more peas to be given the company”: Provisioning, Protest and “ApPEASement” in Early East India Company Voyages’
  • Callie Wilkinson (LMU Munich): ‘Bearing Witness in Wartime: Unauthorized Disclosures in the East India Company’s Armies, 1780–1850’
  • Nicholas Hoover Wilson (Stony Brook): ‘“To operate upon the root of the evil”: Charles Trevelyan and the Arc of Company Corruption’
  • Andrea Major (Leeds): ‘Critics of the Company: Challenging East India Company Colonialism in Manchester, Calcutta, and Delhi, 1838–1843’

17:30. Conclusion

The day is open to both members and non-members of the Society. We are very grateful to the University of Southampton for their support.

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This coming September the Society will be hosting two events as part of the ‘From Tradition to Modernity: Understanding nohgaku from its establishment 650 years ago to contemporary times’ Festival created by the Between the Stones Project developed by Richard Emmert and Janette Cheong. Nohgaku (noh and kyogen) theatre holds a place of profound importance within Japanese culture, deeply embedded in Japan’s rich historical tapestry. As part of a full programme of outreach and activities in which UK audiences will have a unique opportunity to engage more deeply with this classical art form, the Royal Asiatic Society will host two events.

On 6 September, 6.30pm, Kitazawa Hideta with Jannette Cheong will give a talk and demonstration on ‘Noh and Kyogen Masks’. These masks play such an essential role in the performances and this is a fantastic opportunity to discover more about them. Then on 18th September, 6.30pm, Margaret Coldiron will interview Matsui Akira on ‘The Life and Work of a Noh Actor’ in which Matsui will share about his career working around the world. We are excited to be part of this festival and to be able to participate in the dissemination of information about this important part of Japanese culture.

Full details of all the activities can be seen on the posters below:

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Before the above occasions, this coming week, on Wednesday 26 June, 6.30 pm, RAS Fellow, Dr Andrew Hillier, will launch his book The Alcock Album: Scenes of China Consular Life, 1843-1853. The book looks at the life and work of Henrietta Alcock (1812-1853), the first wife of the British Consul, Rutherford Alcock. During her time in China, Henrietta created an album of sketches and watercolours which was acquired by the Martyn Gregory Gallery, London, in the 1990s. Andrew Hillier’s richly illustrated book uses this album as a means to draw Henrietta ‘out of the shadows, providing a unique picture of the treaty port world in its earliest days and of Henrietta as an amateur artist, the wife of a consul and…a woman in empire’. We hope you will be able to join us as Andrew shares more about this interesting woman.

The book is available now at Eurospan bookstore, enter the code TWENTY at checkout to receive a discount.



On Tuesday  2 July, 4.30 pm the Society will hold an online launch of the Nigāristān by Mu‘īn al-Dīn Mu‘īnī Juvainī: A Facsimile Edition, with Dr Gregory Maxwell Bruce. The Nigāristān (compiled 1334–5) is an important work of Persian wisdom literature and one of the first works written on the model of, and in response to, the Gulistān of Saʿdī. Its author, Mu‘īnī Juvainī, was a writer and member of the Ḥamavī Sufi community, Baḥrābād. The text was compiled shortly before the sudden collapse of the Ilkhanate empire and provides glimpses of the last moments of the flourishing Persian literary culture of the late Ilkhanate court. The facsimile edition, edited by Gregory Maxwell Bruce, presents, indexes, and studies a manuscript presumably produced in India during the first regnal year of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (r. 1628–1657). The manuscript was eventually used by the Orientalist Edward Rehatsek (1819–1891) as the basis of the first (and, to date, only) English translation of Nigāristān, which Rehatsek produced as The Picture Gallery (1888) for the Kama Shastra Society. The Royal Asiatic Society Archives hold manuscript versions of that first translation by Rehatsek, details of which can be found here.

The introduction to the present edition studies the Nigāristsān in detail for the first time in English. It provides historical information about the text and its author, studies Nigāristān as a literary response to the Gulistān, analyzes the influence of Nigāristān on Persian wisdom literature at the Timurid court, and surveys its long history of reception in India.

Please note that this event is online only, and is taking place earlier than our usual events. To attend either event online please register with Matty Bradley at mb@royalasiaticsociety.org and a zoom link will be sent.