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Boats in a Storm: A book talk with author Kalyani Ramnath

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Event Details:

Kalyani Ramnath, author of Boats in a Storm: Law, Migration, and Decolonization in South and Southeast Asia, 1942–1962, will discuss the book, published by Stanford University Press as part of the South Asia in Motion series.

Moderated by Thomas Hansen, Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University.

Register to attend the event here. This event will take place in-person only. Registration is required and may be capped once at capacity.


About the Book

For more than century before World War II, traders, merchants, financiers, and laborers steadily moved between places on the Indian Ocean, trading goods, supplying credit, and seeking work. This all changed with the war and as India, Burma, Ceylon, and Malaya wrested independence from the British empire. Set against the tumult of the postwar period, Boats in a Storm centers on the legal struggles of migrants to retain their traditional rhythms and patterns of life, illustrating how they experienced citizenship and decolonization. Even as nascent citizenship regimes and divergent political trajectories of decolonization papered over migrations between South and Southeast Asia, migrants continued to recount cross-border histories in encounters with the law. These accounts, often obscured by national and international political developments, unsettle the notion that static national identities and loyalties had emerged, fully formed and unblemished by migrant pasts, in the aftermath of empires. Read more about the book here.


About the Author

Kalyani Ramnath is Assistant Professor of History and (by courtesy) at School of Law at University of Georgia. Ramnath is a historian of modern South Asia, interested in researching and teaching legal history, histories of migration and displacement, transnational and global history, and questions of archival method.


This event is part of Stanford Global Studies’ Oceanic Imaginaries, a new, multi-year initiative that adopts the world’s oceans as an analytical framework for advancing cross-regional, interdisciplinary research on timely global topics.

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