Select Page

Arnab Dutta MA

PhD candidate


Area(s) of interest: Asian History, Colonialism & Postcolonialism, Transnational History

Cohort/Start PhD: 2018-2019

In Search of an Alternative Europe: Germanism and Continental Europe in the Bengali Imagination, 1919-45

University of Groningen
Promotor(es): Prof. dr. Hubertus Büschel, Dr. Clemens Six
Aanstelling: vanaf januari 2018

This project explores the intellectual entanglements between Interwar Germany (both Weimar Republic and the Third Reich) and the province of Bengal in British India. By looking at the continuation of certain discourses in the public sphere, for example the overshadowing fascination for Germanic Kultur as opposed to the Anglicist civilizational imperatives operable along an otherwise direct metropole-periphery axis between Britain and India, my intention is to look at the transnational circulation and reception of certain key concepts from the German-speaking world (such as Germanism, Aryanism, and Anti-Semitism) in the Bengali psyche. Drawing upon a plethora of sources – starting from the hitherto unpublished and untranslated ego-documents and travelogues of the Bengali visitors in Germany to the archival sources tracking the formal mobility of a group of Bengali natural scientists, linguists, historians and political activists (mostly under the auspices of Kaiser-Wilhelm Gesellschaft, Deutsche Akademie, and Humboldt academic exchange for the British Indians) – my dissertation is trying to find how Interwar Germany had reshaped the Bengali understanding of Europe; and how these transnational transferences of conceptual ideas and intellectual encounters got translated into tangible political action within the anticolonial rhetoric of late colonial British India.