By South Asia we mean any items in the Library’s archives and special collections that are about or created by people or organisations that have a relationship to the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Find out more about the Traces of South Asia project and how to get involved.
The project begins with a series of online exhibitions.
Dr. Gillian Murphy introduces the Myra Sadd Brown Memorial Library that forms part of The Women’s Library collections.
View 'Women and South Asia'
In 2017 LSE Library curated an exhibition in partnership with LSE South Asia Centre called Journeys to Independence: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh”. You can listen to a podcast related to the event and see more on our past exhibitions webpage.
We are working on these at the moment. Watch this space!
When an institution becomes the custodians of an archive, the archivist is faced with the difficult task of describing these contents in a catalogue so that researchers can discover them. Since describing everything that appears in those documents is not practically possible, the archivist will select and emphasise materials that they consider are of significance, according to a particular frame of reference. By doing so a description always misses something. What is missing might be of importance to somebody else who has a different frame of reference.
For example, a description of an organisation’s minutes could not describe everything that is discussed in those meetings, and will often describe general subjects discussed, or even just the dates that are covered in those meetings. Yet perhaps there is an unexpected story in those minutes that relates to a researcher’s very specific interests? Therefore when somebody is looking for archives relevant to their topic, the researcher finds themselves needing to pay attention to not just what a description says, but also to what it doesn’t say. This new and ongoing project is an attempt to help with this process.
Our archives and special collections focus on modern British political and economic history and the development of social sciences in Britain. Despite the British focus of these collections, there are many items, distributed across many collections, that are relevant to the history of South Asia. Since the Library’s founding, there has been a strong connection with South Asia. William Beveridge, the School’s Director 1919 to 1937, was born in Rangpur (now Bangladesh). Founders of the LSE, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, both travelled extensively across what was then British India. The Library houses official publications from Governments across South Asia, and thousands of students and staff from South Asia have studied our collections and gone on to shape the world. We have chosen South Asia as a starting point.
Whilst we have begun this project with some online exhibitions curated by colleagues in the Library, we are particularly interested to hear from the LSE community (both students and staff) who are interested in looking at our archives in these areas from a critical perspective and collaborating with us to grow this page as a resource. If you’re interested or would like to find out more, or if you are working on a project that you think could fit this scope, we would love to hear from you.
Lead photograph at the top of this webpage is from the archives of Neville Sandelson MP, on a visit to Pakistan and Afghanistan with Lord Cranborne, SANDELSON/12/21.
Many people have supported us at the beginning of this project for which we are thankful. We would particularly like to thank Dr. Nilanjan Sarkar for his tireless expertise, kindness and support on this and related projects.