Persisting Coloniality: Researching and Questioning the Bodleian Archives
There is no doubt that across its more than 400-year history the Bodleian has received gifts and donations which were the fruits of imperial trade and colonial exploitation. As the library of the University of Oxford, the Bodleian also entered in relations with plans for the training of colonial civil servants, through the Indian Institute, and with the financial and intellectual legacy of empire embodied in the will of Cecil Rhodes. Furthermore, the Bodleian Libraries hold some significant archives of empire.
This session is designed to highlight the research methods used in the writing of the report “The History of the Bodleian libraries through the lens of the Empire and Colonialism.”
The presentation will open themes and questions about the legacies of the British empire in the Bodleian by presenting sample case studies as connections between the library in Oxford and the activities of empire and colonialism. It will also grapple with the idea of ‘counter-histories,’ arising from activities of the project, ‘We Are Our History,’ the Mellon funded project that commissioned the report. These are offered as examples, never perfect or complete, of placing the ideas of democratising access and encouraging plural voices at the centre of the library’s practice. The session will thus address the relationship between historical research and practice and ask how, if possible, can we bring research and practice together, in the context of the Bodleian?

MS Teams link:
Date: 2 May 2024, 12:50 (Thursday, 2nd week, Trinity 2024)
Venue: 15 Norham Gardens, 15 Norham Gardens OX2 6PY
Venue Details: Seminar Room A and online
Speaker: Devika (Bodleian Libraries)
Organising department: Department of Education
Organiser: Dr Velda Elliott (University of Oxford)
Part of: Qualtitative Methods Hub
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Public
Editor: Hannah Freeman