Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


CSSA ONLINE Book launch: Sujit Sivasundaram's 'Waves Across the South'

17 December 2020, 4:30 pm–6:00 pm

watercolour of men pulling boat onto shore, waves of the south

Book launch & panel discussion: Sujit Sivasundaram’s Waves Across the South: A New History of Revolution and Empire (William Collins, 2020)

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UCL Anthropocene

Sujit Sivasundaram's Waves Across the South is a wide-ranging and far-reaching new history of the origins of the British empire c.1790–1850. Inverting the usual northern focus on the ‘age of revolution’ it shows how empire, war, and counter-revolt were shaped by southern geographies and environments while being contested by indigenous communities. It does so by stressing the physical setting of the oceans as highways for mobile indigenous peoples who were independently exploring ideas of liberty and progress even while the British violently appropriated both peoples and ideas for themselves. Waves Across the South offers an integration of environmental, global, imperial, material, and southern histories. As Sivasundaram suggests, in our age of rising sea levels reflecting on how this global imperialism failed to flatten ocean-facing communities can help us ‘while the clock ticks for what can be done to turn around the environmental impact of globalisation and imperialism’.

Sujit will be discussing Waves Across the South with the leading historians of empire, environment, material culture, and Asia: Sunil Amrith (Yale), Debjani BhattacharyyaMargot Finn (UCL), Jagjeet Lally (UCL).

Hosted by UCL Anthropocene in partnership with the UCL Centre for the Study of South Asia and the Indian Ocean World.