The Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies (CECS) in association with Queen’s India Initiative held a major international symposium entitled “New Global Connections: India and Europe in the Long Eighteenth Century” on 5-6 May. The symposium drew attention to the new connections between Europe and India during the eighteenth century when people, goods and ideas flowed between east and west stimulating trade, empire and artistic expression. The opening lecture of the symposium (part of the long-running India Lecture Series at QUB) was by Professor Seema Alavi of Delhi University on ‘Mughal Decline and the Emergence of New Global Connections’. Questioning the myth of ‘Mughal decline’, Alavi provided a revisionist history of the Mughal period stressing its vibrancy and growth during the period. The symposium attracted leading scholars of the period from India, the US, Denmark, and the U.K. to offer papers on British, French, Danish and other European involvements in India during the period. The prestigious Voltaire Foundation in Oxford has expressed interest in publishing a volume of essays from the symposium.
Reflecting on the achievement, the Director of CECS, Dr. Gabriel Sanchez Espinosa, said that ‘This symposium, drawing together interdisciplinary research expertise within the Humanities at Queen’s, has successfully begun an international conversation on the relations between India and the European world during the long Eighteenth Century. The Indian-themed network of scholars that we are beginning to establish with our colleagues in India, Europe and America shows that CECS is aware of the special interest of the internationalisation agenda of our university in South Asia.’