Sunday, June 13, 2010

“Blavatsky and the Geopolitics of Secret Knowledge”

Trinity College Dublin will be hosting a Symposium on “Perspectives on India and the West: Politics, Religion and Art” on Wednesday, June 23, from 5.00 to 7.30 pm. It will be held at the Synge Theatre Arts Building at Trinity College Dublin. The typical type of talk that is usually presented at this sort of event is represented by those to be given here, such as Charles Horton’s “Changed Perceptions: Western Collectors of Mughal Art” or Francis X. Clooney’s “After Post-Colonialism: the Rediscovery of Hinduism.” But an interesting change, and a sign of the times, is Gauri Viswanathan’s presentation “Colonialism’s Shadow World: Blavatsky and the Geopolitics of Secret Knowledge.” According to the Seminar announcement, her talk “will examine notions of colonialism and secrecy in 19th century India.”

The Seminar is being held in conjunction with the Trinity College Dublin Library Exhibition “Nabobs, Soldiers and Imperial Service: The Irish in India,” May 27 to October 3, 2010, which details “the links between Trinity, Ireland, Britain and Europe with India, concentrating on the wealth of printed books and other related material from the 19th and early 20th century that is held in the Library.”

Professor Viswanathan teaches at the Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University in New York and has dealt with Blavatsky in her writings, most notably in “The Ordinary Business of Occultism” in the Autumn 2000 issue of Critical Inquiry where she took on the subject of the Mahatma Letters.

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