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Priyamvada Gopal: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent

Saturday, Nov 16 2019
16:30 - 17:30
Priyamvada Gopal
location: Assembly Roxy

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Priyamvada Gopal challenges accepted histories, showing how rebellious colonies changed British attitudes to empire.

‘Priyamvada Gopal has calmly and authoritatively produced this impressive study of resistance against Empire, in the face of the kind of constant hostility that only serves to remind us why her work is so urgent in the first place. We all owe her a debt.’ - AFUA HIRSCH

We’re incredibly excited to be hosting Priyamvada Gopal for talk centred on her new book Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent.

Insurgent Empire shows how Britain’s enslaved and colonial subjects were active agents in their own liberation. What is more, they shaped British ideas of freedom and emancipation back in the United Kingdom.

Gopal examines a century of dissent on the question of empire and shows how British critics of empire were influenced by rebellions and resistance in the colonies, from the West Indies and East Africa to Egypt and India. In addition, a pivotal role in fomenting resistance was played by anticolonial campaigners based in London, right at the heart of empire.

Much has been written on how colonized peoples took up British and European ideas and turned them against empire when making claims to freedom and self-determination. Insurgent Empire sets the record straight in demonstrating that these people were much more than victims of imperialism or, subsequently, the passive beneficiaries of an enlightened British conscience—they were insurgents whose legacies shaped and benefited the nation that once oppressed them.

‘Priyamvada Gopal is an astonishing writer and thinker, one who is fearless in how she uses history to explain where we are now. Her work is essential to showing how empire and colonialism pervades every nook and cranny of the British establishment today and why we should all continue to speak truth to power, like she does every damn day.’ – NIKESH SHUKLA

Priyamvada Gopal teaches in the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge. She contributes to a host of publications, including India Today, the Times Literary Supplement, The Independent and The Guardian.


This event is part of Edinburgh’s 23rd Independent & Radical Book Fair, which runs from the 14th-17th November 2019. Please follow the link for details of accessibility as well as the bookshop’s safer spaces policy.

The Independent & Radical Book Fair is entirely run by Lighthouse- Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop and we receive no outside funding. To keep the event running in this spectacular and accessible space, and to make it as welcoming as possible, a third of all tickets are FREE, and the rest are by donation. Please give as generously as you can, either online or at the book fair!

Book places here.