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The Globalisation of Indian Magic, Visiting Research Fellowship Lecture 2019

Join Dr Nandi on 25 September for The Globalisation of Magic, the culminating lecture of his Visiting Research Fellowship at Senate House Library.

In the Western world, India evokes an image of mysticism; a home of spirituality, the occult and, for some, the supernatural. But how did India come to enjoy this status of a proverbial land of magic, even in our modern world?

Dr Nandi, 2019 Visiting Research Fellow, has utilised Senate House Library’s extensive collection of memoirs, reports, books, illustrations and silent films created by European colonialists to understand how formerly anonymous Indian magicians convinced Westerners, even to this day, of their supernatural powers. 

Dr Nandi in Senate House Library reading a book

Dr Sugata Nandi, Visiting Research Fellow

In this lecture, Dr Sugata Nandi will present his research findings from Senate House Library’s extensive collections.

About Dr Nandi

Dr Sugata Nandi is an Assistant Professor of History at the West Bengal State University, Kolkata, researching the history of globalisation of Indian magic from the late eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century. His research explores how the West orientalised India by appropriating aspects of its religion, culture and forms of entertainment as magic, and how this in turn generated tensions within Orientalism itself. 

Nandi started working on this subject from last year, when he was awarded a Visiting Research Fellowship at The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, The University of Edinburgh. His earlier subject of research was history of crime. He worked on violent lower class urban criminals of twentieth century colonial Calcutta, called the goondas. His doctoral thesis was a study of the goondas, their complex interactions with the world of institutional politics and strategies of police surveillance meant to suppress them. He has published five research articles so far and two more are in the pipeline. He has presented papers at twenty international conferences in India and abroad. He lives in Kolkata with wife, Maitreyee, and daughter, Ela.