Zak Leonard, University of Chicago | Newberry

Zak Leonard, University of Chicago

Friday, October 17, 2014

3-5 pm


Center for American History and Culture Programs
Seminar in British History

“Beyond the Census: Colonial Ethnography on India’s North-West Frontier”
Zak Leonard, University of Chicago

Seeking to challenge the totalizing theory of an “ethnographic state,” this paper examines a paradigm shift that occurred in the mid-nineteenth century and impacted the colonial study of borderland populations along India’s North-West Frontier. While the establishment of metropolitan intellectual societies facilitated the rise of socio-cultural evolutionism, colonial agents in this region also utilized oral culture-study to critique governmental modernization projects and vocalize their personal political viewpoints. This study, then, complicates the relationship between knowledge production and state power by reasserting the significance of personality as an operative force in the formation of colonial discourse.

Cost and Registration Information 

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically.  For a copy of the paper, email the Scholl Center at  Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.