Mulholland Named Burkhardt Fellow

English professor James Mulholland will continue his research into the emergence of Anglo-Indian literature during the eighteenth century at the National Humanities Center, thanks to a Burkhardt fellowship.

James Mulholland researches the emergence of anglophone literature in colonial India.
James Mulholland researches the emergence of anglophone literature in colonial India.

Mulholland is one of 21 recently tenured professors who have been named Burkhardt Fellows for the 2016-17 academic year. The fellowships, awarded by the American Council of Learned Societies with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, include a $75,000 stipend and $5,000 research budget. Fellows participate in yearlong residencies at scholarly communities.

Mulholland’s book project, titled Anglophone Literature and the Emergence of the Colonial Public Sphere in Asia, 1774-1819, documents the rich and unique literary culture of 18th-century British India.

By the 1790s, Mulholland said, India had developed an archive of English-language authors who were writing locally, contrary to the more well-known and studied writers who were based in Britain. He’s looking to recover those lesser-known authors and place their work in the proper context.

“I’m hoping to alter our current sense that English-language writing in India merely imitated British fashions by explaining the social relationships and local infrastructure that made this writing possible,” he said. “It’s important to show how this writing was distinct, self-directed and often ambivalent toward its European influences.”

Mullholland will use his fellowship research budget to visit historical archives at the British Library in London and the Academy Library at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

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