EmpireEnvisioned - HedearImage


Empire Envisioned: The sense of sight in imperial India and the Philippines

Hosted by the Department of International History

Sumeet Valrani Lecture Theatre, 1st Floor, Centre Building, LSE, United Kingdom


Professor Andrew Rotter

Professor Andrew Rotter


Professor Matthew Jones

Professor Matthew Jones

The social history of empire was constructed of all five human senses.  This lecture considered the role of sight in the formation of British India the American Philippines.

By the early twentieth century, Britons and Americans believed that sight was pre-eminent among the senses, and thus made it their first priority to reveal their subjects and make legible their social, political, and economic organization.  As James Scott has argued, the state must "see" its constituents before it can rule them effectively.  British and American governance relied on finding, counting, photographing, and making visually respectable their Indian and Filipino subjects.  The builders of empire thus created in their  colonies administrative units that were visible to them as rulers.

This lecture was based on Professor Andrew Rotter's latest book, Empires of the Senses: Bodily Encounters in Imperial India and the Philippines (Oxford University Press, 2019).

Andrew Rotter is Charles A. Dana Professor of History at Colgate University, USA.  He teaches and writes on the history of US foreign relations, especially its cultural sources, and on the history of empire.

Matthew Jones is Professor of International History and Head of Department of International History at LSE.

The Department of International History (@lsehistory) teaches and conducts research on the international history of Britain, Europe and the world from the early modern era up to the present day. Sponsored by the department's Modern World History research cluster.


If you are planning to attend this event and would like details on how to get here and what time to arrive, as well as on accessibility and special requirements, please refer to LSE Events FAQ.  LSE aims to ensure that people have equal access to these public events, but please contact the events organiser as far as possible in advance if you have any access requirements so that arrangements, where possible, can be made. Access Guides to all our venues can be viewed online.

WFI Access

LSE has now introduced wireless for guests and visitors in association with 'The Cloud', also in use at many other locations across the UK. If you are on campus visiting for the day or attending a conference or event, you can connect your device to wireless. See more information and create an account at Join the Cloud.
Visitors from other participating institutions are encouraged to use eduroam. If you are having trouble connecting to eduroam, please contact your home institution for assistance.
The Cloud is only intended for guest and visitor access to wifi. Existing LSE staff and students are encouraged to use eduroam instead.


Banner: part of book cover ©Oxford University Press



LSE International History lsehistory

How and why did the US decide to pursue primacy in international affairs? If you missed our 20 October #ZoomEvent c… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

15 hours ago

Reply Retweet Favorite

LSE International History lsehistory

We’re accepting applications for next year’s MSc Theory & History of IR programme! This degree is specialist & mult… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

17 hours ago

Reply Retweet Favorite

  Sign up for news about events