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Kipling in the News: Journalism, Empire, and Decolonisation



We have decided to postpone the conference to 2021. We will release the new dates later in 2020, when we have a clearer sense of what will be possible next year.

Rudyard Kipling's experience as a journalist and colonial correspondent honed his distinctive, concise prose style, and it is this pithiness that accounts for his enduring legacy in the twenty-first century as a writer often in support of – but occasionally critical of – first British and then US empires.

At a time when both pervasive  imperial nostalgia and movements to decolonise the university are dragging Kipling back into the news, this conference will explore the importance of journalism to Kipling's literary life and, in so doing, ask larger questions about the relationship between journalism, empire, and decolonisation. It will also invite reflections on the continued relevance of these questions in what has been characterised as our "post-truth" era.

Registration for the conference is £20 (staff/waged) or £10 (student/unwaged). The registration fee includes tea and coffee, lunch on both days, and two wine receptions. Please indicate in your registration whether you would like to attend the conference dinner at the Dame Alice Owen on the evening of Thursday 29th October.

Conference Programme

Day 1, Thursday 29th October

09.00-09.20 Registration

09.20-09.30 Opening Remarks

Mike Kipling

09.30-11.00 Keynote 1

Dr Chandrika Kaul

Introduced by Sarah Lonsdale

11.00-11.30 Tea & Coffee

11.30-13.00 Panel 1: Journalism & Fiction

Chair: Andrew Lycett

Madhu Grover, ‘Negotiating with Fiction: Border zones in Kipling’s Early Indian Narratives’

Élodie Raimbault, ‘“Tell it as a lie”: the Ambiguous Blend of Fiction and Journalism in Kipling’s Many Inventions

Angela Eyre, ‘“Tods Amendment”, the Native-born Child, and Debates Over Tenancy Legislation’

13.00-14.00 Lunch

14.00-15.30 Panel 2: Translating Kipling

Chair: Howard Booth

Harish Trivedi, ‘Kipling and the Indian Vernacular Press: Countering The Pioneer

Mohammad Saleem, ‘Shaking Off the Colonial Burden: Revisiting Resistance Literature in India during British Rule’

Monica Turci, ‘Rudyard Kipling in Antonio Gramsci’s Journalism’

15.30-16.00 Tea & Coffee

16.00-17.30 Panel 3: Empires

Chair: Dr Kaori Nagai

Vinita Dhondiyal Bhatnagar, ‘Opium, Empire and the Orient: Reading Kipling in the Context of Narcopolitics’

John Anders, ‘Kipling’s Early Travel Letters: Journalism and Imagination’

Jaine Chemmachery, ‘Neo-Victorian Kim and Kipling’s enduring presence’

17.30-18.00 Wine Reception

18.00-19.00 Keynote 2

Professor Elleke Boehmer, in Conversation with Dom Davies

19.30 Conference Dinner at Dame Alice Owen, St John Street

Day 2, Friday 30th October

09.30-11.00 Keynote 3

Professor Janet Montefiore

Introduced by Dominic Davies

11.00-11.30 Tea & Coffee

11.30-13.30 Panel 4: Newspapers & their Owners

Chair: Dr Sarah Lonsdale

Aaron Ackerley, ‘Rudyard Kipling, the Press Barons, and Visions of Empire’

George Simmers, ‘The Fun of Fake News: “The Village that Voted the Earth was Flat” and “Dayspring Mishandled”’

Howard Booth, ‘Rethinking Kipling’s First World War propaganda: the case of France at War

John Radcliffe, ‘Kipling and Beaverbrook, a friendship lost’

13.30-14.30 Lunch

14.30-16.00 Panel 5: Kipling’s Literary Legacy

Chair: Dr Dominic Davies

Minna Vuohelainen, ‘Rudyard Kipling’s Imperial Gothic short fiction and the periodical press’

Jill Didur, ‘Reimaging Kipling: Mixing Fiction and Journalism in The Kipling File

Sarah Lonsdale, ‘Feminist Parodies of Kipling’s Poetry’

Gary Enstone, ‘Living with Rudyard Kipling and his legacy in a 21st Century World’

16.00-16.30 Tea & Coffee

16.30-18.00 Keynote 4

Professor Harry Ricketts

Introduced by Jan Montefiore

18.00 Closing Wine Reception

Please contact Dr. Dominic Davies for further details.

By attending this event you agree to our terms and conditions

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When and where

From Thursday 29th October 2020 to Friday 30th October 2020

B200 University Building City, University of London Northampton Square London EC1V 0HB United Kingdom