The Amritsar Massacre - Genealogy of Colonial Violence in British India

Public lecture by Kim Wagner 

Paper abstract:

It is usually assumed that the inter- and post-war period saw an intensification of colonial violence, as imperial powers sought to maintain control in the face of increasing opposition from anti-colonial nationalism and other global forces. The late colonial state, however, only appears to have assumed more repressive forms, with increasing recourse to indiscriminate violence, if one assumes a perspective restricted to the twentieth century. This paper seeks to recast the Amritsar Massacre, and the violence of decolonization more generally, within the longer history of colonial spectacles of exemplary punishment.


Kim A. Wagner is Senior Lecturer in British Imperial History, Department of History, Queen Mary University of London. Wagner completed a Ph.D. in South Asian history at the University of Cambridge in 2003. He was a Junior Research Fellow at King’s College, Cambridge (2004-2008), and taught history at Edinburgh and Birmingham before joining Queen Mary in 2012. His recent publications include The Great Fear of 1857: Rumours, Conspiracies and the Making of the Indian Uprising (2010) and 'Treading Upon Fires’: The ‘Mutiny’-Motif and Colonial Anxieties in British India’, Past & Present (2013). 

Public Lecture. Registration is not required. All are welcome.