Tanya Agathocleous (Hunter College),The Aesthete and the Babu: Affect on Trial in Late Imperial Britain
This is a Faculty Membership talk. In turn of the century Imperial Britain, two sets of trials subjected writers to criminal liability for improper affections: one set resulted in Oscar Wilde’s prosecution for “gross indecency” in 1895, while the 1891 trial in Calcutta of the Bangavasi periodical set off a series of court actions wherein the colonial government sought to prosecute Indian newspapers for sedition. In each case, the court created a new literary-criminal other who was cast out of the public sphere, thus defining that sphere as a space of restrained affect. But they also consolidated cultures of opposition that used affective stances as forms of resistance.