Wolf-children, Tropicality, and Scientific Discourse in Colonial India (AHRI Research Seminar)

‌The Arts and Humanities Research Institute (AHRI) and the Scottish Centre for Global History present the next event in their seminar series for 2018/19, featuring Saurabh Mishra (University of Sheffield) speaking on 'Wolf-children, Tropicality, and Scientific Discourse in Colonial India'.

Wolf-children image for Dr Saurabh Mishra's research seminarIn 1920, Reverend J. A. L. Singh was alerted to the presence of some strange creatures in the jungles close to Godamuri (Bengal). Taking heed of appeals from ‘simple-minded and ignorant villagers’, he set out to examine the case and discovered that the creatures were, in fact, two human females aged eight and one-and-a-half years respectively. He took them to his orphanage, and began to maintain a meticulous diary on their movement and gradual development, which eventually got published and received wide publicity throughout the world. Despite the huge publicity it received, though, Singh’s discovery was not the only one of its kind from India. In fact, starting from the early-nineteenth century, dozens of cases were discovered in the subcontinent, which became fodder for a wide range of popular publications. They also attracted the attention of psychologists, linguists and other scholars. We will take a close look at these discussions while making the larger argument that ideas/artefacts from the ‘tropics’ had a huge impact on life in the metropoles – not just within the larger public sphere, but also within the intimate spaces of domestic life.

All welcome, but please note you may need your staff or student card to enter the Main Library.

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Tickets: Free