Trans-imperial interactions and the anti-colonial politics of comparison: the case of Indian and Korean nationalism in the inter-war period

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Friday, November 27th, 2015

Friday, November 27, 20153:00PM - 5:00PM208N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
M5S 3K7
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Reimagining the Asia Pacific


This paper examines the implications of Indian nationalism during the inter-war period for both Japanese rule in Korea and the anti-colonial struggle against it. It discusses how two Bengalis, famous for their Anglophobia—the poet Rabindranath Tagore and the revolutionary Rash Behari Bose—saw Japanese colonialism in Korea and how their contrasting views differentially influenced thoughts about colonialism in the Japanese colonial empire, among both Japanese and Koreans. The paper shows how the views and influence of these two Indians can usefully be examined in terms of what Ann Laura Stoler has called the ‘politics of comparison’. Stoler has seminally argued that modern empires interacted with one another in the (trans-)formations of their colonial policies, urging scholars of colonial history to attend to how these empires compared one another with a view to understanding the politics behind such acts of comparison. By taking the example of the Korean and Indian causes for independence, particularly their trans-imperial interactions, this paper will try to demonstrate that this concept can be usefully extended in ways that cover the thoughts and actions of those colonized subjects who used comparison to oppose colonialism.

Satoshi Mizutani was educated at Sophia, Warwick and Oxford Universities. His Dphil thesis was published in 2011 as The Meaning of White: Race, Class, and the ‘Domiciled Community’ in British India 1858-1930 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011). Since 2005, he has taught at Doshisha University (Kyoto, Japan), and, in 2007 with Ryūta Itagaki, co-founded DOSC [Doshisha Studies in Colonialism], an inter-disciplinary research group devoted to studies on European and Japanese colonialisms.


Rachel Ostep


Satoshi Mizutani
Doshisha University

Main Sponsor

Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies


Department of History

Centre for the Study of Korea

Centre for South Asian Studies

Asian Institute

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