Postcolonial Studies at NYU

Commodities and Culture, 1851-1914

In 2009, three members of the English Faculty, Professors Elaine Freedgood, Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, and Robert J.C. Young, formed part of an international university consortium for collaborative research that was awarded a Leverhulme Network Grant to the value of 80,875 (approx. $133,000) for a project entitled 'Commodities and Culture, 1851-1914'. The other institutions involved were King's College London, New York University, and Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. Three other institutions were also associated with the project: the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, S. Africa; the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at University of Technology, Sydney, Australia; and the Centre for Victorian Studies at the University of Exeter, UK.

The program facilitated an interdisciplinary, intercontinental exchange of expertise on nineteenth and early twentieth-century local cultures in the context of global exchange, and enabled the critical examination of methodological models and conceptual frameworks that operate within different disciplines. 

The program included three major three-day international workshops hosted in London (2010), Kolkata (2010/11), New York (2011). The principal applicant, Professor McDonagh (King's College London), with co-applicants Professor Chaudhuri (Jadavpur) and Professor Sunder Rajan (NYU), acted in turn as academic director for the workshops in their respective institutions. Three participants from NYU were funded by the Leverhulme to participate in the conferences in London and Kolkata, and the grant also covered the travel expenses of some of the other international participants to come to New York for the conference at NYU.

The program also included provision for the participation of other faculty and graduate students, and for the training of postgraduate and early career researchers.