Kim Wagner

Our next speaker Dr. Kim Wagner is a professor of Global History at Queen Mary University, London.

Dr. Wagner’s research explores the forms and functions of violence and cultural (mis-)understanding within British and other imperial formations, and between the Western and the non-Western Worlds more generally.

His work has largely focussed on key conflicts and turning-points in the history of British India, and especially on indigenous resistance, involving ‘Thugs’, rebels, ‘fanatics’, or nationalists. In his recent book, The Skull of Alum Bheg: The Life and death of a Rebel of 1857 (Hurst/OUP/Penguin India, 2017), He sought to recover the experience of an Indian rebel through a critical reading of the colonial archive ‘against the grain’.

His latest book on the Amritsar massacre of 1919 relies on the concept of ‘thick periodization’ to demonstrate how colonial anxieties, originating in the ‘Mutiny’ of 1857, shaped the British interpretation of unrest, and, crucially, dictated the levels of violence required to suppress it. This work speaks directly to current debates on the legacies of Empire, and especially the calls for reparations, repatriation and the decolonization of museums and universities in the West.