The Shaping of a Comparative Perspective
Edited By Peter Kallaway and Rebecca Swartz
Chapter One: ‘Lessons’ from the Subcontinent: Indian Dynamics in British Africa
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‘Lessons’ from THE Subcontinent
Indian Dynamics in British Africa
This chapter examines the educational legacy of colonial India and its contribution to the shaping of British colonial perspectives that later fed into British Africa in the twentieth century. Of course, educational developments at the metropole, in Europe and the United States were important in influencing these colonial African perspectives. However, as far as the British colonies in Africa were concerned, there was an apparent equivalence with earlier developments and experimentation in British India in terms of a broader civilising mission for non-white colonial domains and how colonial education might be situated within these territories.
Understanding the transfer of colonial ideas between India and Africa, within the ambit of the British Empire, engages modern theorisation, particularly concerning educative processes and their place in empire. This theorisation revises earlier work that has overplayed the central influence of Britain. Most particularly, new ideas on this topic have taken the discussion away from misapplied centre-periphery perspectives to ones that engage interesting multi-dimensional and multi-directional approaches. Kate Darian-Smith, Patricia Grimshaw and Stuart Macintyre, in their study of Britishness as a global phenomenon, examine what happened to this Britishness in its diffuse forms as the empire declined.1 Catherine Hall has examined the metropole itself as a cultural space worthy of problematisation and subject to influence from colonies abroad.2 There is also new research that explores the historicity...
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