Based on an ethnography of Fort St. George Museum in Chennai (formerly Madras), India,
Remembering Empire explores the public and private politics of preserving the memory of the British period in the former seat of the British East India Company. K. E. Supriya shows how the preservation of artifacts and paintings from the British period has become a means through which the imperialist politics of empire are reworked in the cultural memory of the South Indian people. Fieldwork in the museum and extensive interviews across three generations show how Indians reconcile with the Britishness of Indian identity. Woven throughout is the author’s probing commentary on the significance of affirmative conversations about racialized pasts in the United States.
Remembering Empire is essential reading for anyone interested in postcolonial India and the politics of cultural memory.