How was violence essential to sustaining the British Empire, and why is teaching this imperative in today’s world? Historian Kim Wagner – author of Amritsar 1919: An Empire of Fear and the Making of a Massacre – discusses this question in conversation with Aditya Ramesh in the latest episode History Workshop Podcast.

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The Jallianwallah Bagh in 1919, a few months after the Amritsar Massacre: Wikimedia Commons.

Kim Wagner is a Senior Lecturer in British Imperial History at Queen Mary, University of London. His research explores the forms and functions of violence and cultural (mis-)understanding within British and other imperial formations, and between the Western and the non-Western Worlds more generally. His work has largely focussed on key conflicts and turning-points in the history of British India, and especially on indigenous resistance, involving ‘Thugs’, rebels, ‘fanatics’, or nationalists. His most recent book is Amritsar 1919: An Empire of Fear and the Making of a Massacre (Yale University Press, 2019).

Aditya Ramesh is an Editorial Fellow at History Workshop Online. His PhD, undertaken at SOAS, University of London, examined rivers, experts and the economic life in colonial and postcolonial India. He is interested in writing environmental histories of the present, the geographies of natural resource exploitation and increasingly the intersection between urbanization and the environment. Aditya is now a postdoctoral fellow based out of Bengaluru, India and Oxford, UK, as part of a Global Challenge Research Fund grant looking to make cities in the global south sustainable.

This podcast was edited by Marybeth Hamilton.

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