[Blueboard] KK Lecture Series Presents Megan C. Thomas

Department of English [LS] english.soh at ateneo.edu
Thu Nov 13 08:34:19 PHT 2014

Kritika Kultura, the international refereed journal of language, literary,
and cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila
University, will be hosting a lecture by Megan C. Thomas titled “Lascars,
Sepoys, and Other Indian Ocean Worlds of the British Occupation (1762-64).”
The lecture will be held on Nov. 19, 2014, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., at the
1/f De La Costa Building Faculty Lounge, Ateneo de Manila University.

Thomas’s abstract reads: “This paper traces connections between Luzon and
India during the Seven Years War, as embodied by British forces sent to
Manila in 1762. It is well known that British forces occupied Manila, but
less common to think about who those British forces were, where they had
come from, and how their earlier experiences might have shaped what they
did once they landed in Manila. British forces included, among others,
sepoys (South Asian infantrymen trained in Western styles of soldiering),
topasses (Indo-Portuguese Catholics who served as gunners East India
Company forces), lascars (seafarers and laborers from around the Indian
Ocean world), ‘coffreys’ (African and Afro-descendant laborers often
working as soldiers for the East India Company) and French deserters, all
embarked from Madras and veterans of Anglo-French conflicts in India. These
men were sometimes difficult for their commanders to control, and when they
did things like plunder or desert, they employed strategies common to the
struggling subaltern soldiery of India’s militaries, those attached to
European as well as those attached to Indian powers. The paper outlines the
imperial ambitions that produced this moment of traveling labor, unpacks
the histories of these terms that refer to much of the British force, and
begins to trace the travels and strategies of these men. The paper also
reflects on what this historical moment can tell us about the places of
Manila and other parts of the Philippines in the Indian Ocean world of the
late eighteenth century.”

Megan C. Thomas teaches political theory at the University of California,
Santa Cruz, where she is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate
Studies of the Politics Department, and affiliated faculty of the History
of Consciousness Program. She has written mostly on nineteenth-century
intellectual history, and mostly on the ilustrados, but her interests
include eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European intellectual
history—especially early anarchist and socialist thought—and comparative
political theory. She is the author of the book *Orientalists,
Propagandists, and Ilustrados: Filipino Scholarship and the End of Spanish
Colonialism* (U of Minnesota P, 2012), and her journal articles have
appeared in *Philippine Studies*, *Comparative Studies in Society and
History*, and *Review of Politics*. Her current research is moving toward
social history.

Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University
Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights,
Quezon City 1108
Tel. no.: 426-6001 local 5310/5311
Telefax: 426-6201
Email: english.soh at ateneo.edu
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