Gauri Viswanathan. Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India. New York: Columbia UP, pp. $ In his Prison Notebooks Antonio . Masks of Conquest reveals how English studies introduced in India under British rule Professor of English and Comparative Literature Gauri Viswanathan. Gauri Viswanathan is a professor of English & comparative literature at Columbia University. She is the author of “Masks of Conquest: Literary Study & British.

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Besides, after the Indian revolt against foreign rule, British officials did not wish to adopt policies that might ignite fears of conversion among Hindus and Muslims. In Masks of ConquestGauri Viswanathan uses this Gramscian model of hegemony to analyze conquesy relationship between British political and commercial interests and the establishment of English Literature as a discipline in India.

Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India – Gauri Viswanathan – Google Books

Much of Viswanathan’s work, in fact, concentrates on bringing together various pamphlets, tracts, periodicals, and government sources. Tabassum Yasmin rated it really liked it Sep 16, Warning us about the “illusion of historical continuity,” however, does not necessarily demystify the ironies of a postcolonial educational system in which an ostensibly leftist government in Bengal rigidly enforces the study of canonical English texts.

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Katie Holmes rated it really liked it May 02, Lists with This Book. Chris rated it really liked it Jul 16, Asma rated it really liked it May 11, Previously, scholars merely studied the transformative effects of British education to understand the historical function of educational policies.

Sankar Raj rated it really liked it Jan 18, Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.


By the end of conqust s, however, British administrators again changed their stance and advocated a secular reading of English literature to encourage commercial and trade literacy. Dhanaraj Rajan rated it really liked it Aug 26, Initially, Indians studied English literature using poetical devices, such as rhyme, alliteration, and reduplication.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Masks of Conquest reveals how English studies introduced in India under British rule came to be an effective form of political control abetting voluntary cultural assimilation.

Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India

Return to Book Page. Using a variety of resources, she demonstrates the continual modification of the British educational goals which together created the discipline of English studies.

Viswanathan’s brief concluding section, “Empire and the Canon,” points out the dangers of reading nineteenth-century educational practice as continuous with contemporary English studies in India. Viswanathan argues that British administrators introduced English literary study in India in the early nineteenth century to improve the moral knowledge of Indians.

Viswanathan gives a detailed account of the various debates that influenced the introduction of English literary study in India. Micheal Rumore rated it really liked it Aug 18, Literary Study and British Rule in India.

In his Prison Notebooks Antonio Gramsci argues that a class can exercise its power not merely by the use of military force but by an institutionalized system of moral and intellectual leadership that propogates certain ideas and beliefs. Trivia About Masks of Conquest All photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Maurice Ebileeni rated it it was amazing Jan 01, Viswanathan is also careful not to oversimplify the British educational objectives in India.


If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE, click ‘Authenticate’. The propagation of English literature among the “natives,” from the vigorous attempts by the secularized government schools to the more uneasy attempts by the Christian missionary schools, was ultimately carried out to ensure the authority of the British government and to create a stable state in which British mercantile and military interests could flourish.

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Kimi rated it liked it Oct 03, Book titles OR Journal titles. Books by Gauri Viswanathan. Disha Acharya rated it really liked it Jun 09, Douglas rated it liked it May 12, To ask other readers questions about Masks of Conquestplease sign up.

Gauri Viswanathan provides a fascinating account of the ideological motivations behind the introduction of English literary education in British India.

She studies the shifts in the curriculum and relates such developments to debates over the objectives of English education both among the British administrators, as well as between missionaries and colonial officials.

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Aside from developing a dissatisfied class that was denied any suitable employment opportunities, the literary curriculum highlighted the problems of a system which advocated both social control and social advancement.