University of Sussex
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Photographs of the Inaugural Conference

In January 2023, the University of Sussex and the Botanical Survey of India came together to host a conference, marking the inauguration of the "Science, Humanism and the Making of Modern India" exhibition. This event brought together a diverse group of international experts representing various disciplines. Their primary objective was to foster knowledge sharing and meaningful discussions centred around the theme of "Science, Humanism, and the Formation of Modern India."


9th January 2023

10:00 Registration

10:30-11.15 Introductory Address

11.15-11:45 Tea Break

11:45-13:00 Section 1: Nehruvian Science and the Global Context

× Rohan D’Souza (Kyoto): Science and Culture, a Post-Independence Nehruvian Story

× Michael Rayner (Sussex): India’s Contribution to the UNESCO Statement on Race, 1951

× Projit Bihari Mukharji (Ashoka): A Brave New Animal for a Brave New World: UNESCO and Mouse-Model Standardization in Early Postcolonial India

13:00-14:00 Lunch Break

14:00-15:15 Section 2: Nehruvian Science and the National Context

× Sucheta Mahajan (JNU): A New Science for a New Nation: Emerging Perspectives of the Indian National Congress

× Renny Thomas (IISER): Science, Scientific Temper and Indigenous Knowledge Systems

× Suvobrata Sarkar (RBU): Bengali sub-nationalism and quest for modern technological knowledge: Gleanings from India’s colonial past and the College of Engineering & Technology, Jadavpur

× Vijay Kumar Yadavendu (Patliputra University): TBC

15:15-16:30 Section 3: Indian Archives and Collections

× Antonia Moon (BL) (Zoom): Colonial Collections on the Science and Anthropology of India in the British Library

× Anindita Saha (Sussex) & Manas Bhaumik (BSI): Collections held by the Botanical Survey of India

× Michael Rayner (Sussex, on behalf of JIC): The Archives of the John Innes Centre and the History of the Genetics Society

16:30-18.00 Exhibition Launch and Panel Discussion on Science, Public Culture and Museums

Exhibition: Science, Humanism and the Making of Modern India

In the Industrial Section of Indian Museum, BSI

Panel Discussion on Science, Public Culture and Museums

Chair: Ashiho Mao (BSI) & Vinita Damodaran (Sussex)

Participants: Manas Bhaumik (BSI), Deepak Kumar (JNU), Rohan D’Souza (Kyoto), Anindita Saha (Sussex), Michael Rayner (Sussex), Mangrove School Project Team

18:00 Reception with High Tea

10th January 2023

10:00-10:30 Introduction

× Vinita Damodaran (Sussex): AHRC Project

× Michael Rayner (Sussex): The Indian Science Congress and Its Role in Formalising Indian Science

10:30-11:15 Keynote Speech by Deepak Kumar (JNU): 'Science, Humanism and Decolonisation: The Indian Experiences'

Chair: Ashiho Mao

11:15-11:30 Tea Break

11:30-12:45 Section 4: Anthropology 1: Colonial Anthropology

× Sangeeta DasGupta (JNU): Sarat Chandra Roy's Anthropology: A Journey through a Discipline

× Anju Oseema Toppo (Xaviers): The Changing Construct of Adivasi Identity in Indian Context

× Sandipan Mitra (Presidency): Disciplining Anthropology in Late Colonial Bengal

× Felix Padel (Sussex) (Zoom): Eugenics, Anthropology and the Darwins

12:45-14:00 Section 5: Ecology, Botany and Genetics

× Mick Frogley (Sussex): Hidden Histories, Hidden Ecologies: The Role of Imperial Networks in Developing the ‘Modern Synthesis’

× Michael Rayner (Sussex): Genetics Networks in 1930s India

× Vinita Damodaran (Sussex): Janaki Ammal and Indian Science

14:00-14:45 Lunch Break

14:45-15:30 Section 7: Institutional Histories, Botany and Genetics in Modern India

× Ashiho Mao (BSI): The History of the BSI

× Uday Bandyopadhyay (Bose Institute): The Pioneering Role of Bose Institute Towards the Advent and Flourishing of Modern Science in India

15:30-16:30 Section 6: Botany, Genetics and Environmentalism in Modern India

× Dr. Karthygeyan (BSI): Ethnobotany in Modern India

× Manas Bhaumik (BSI): TBC

× Vinita Damodaran (Sussex) and Rohan D’Souza (Kyoto): Participation of Scientists in Postcolonial Environmentalism in India and Abroad

16:30-16:45 Tea Break

16:45-17:45 Section 8: Anthropology 2: Race and Decolonisation

× Shalini Minz (Xaviers): Indigenous knowledge on Ethnobotanical diversity and its role in Forest Conservation in Tribal areas of Jharkhand.

× Sneha S Kachhap (Xaviers): The development of Labour zone and the Process of Ethnicization of Tribal Labour

× Sharon Kachhap (BR Ambedkar): Decolonising Arts Education in Indian School Systems

17:45-18:30 Concluding Comments

(c) Images courtesy of Anindita Saha, Vinita Damodaran and Michael Rayner


Science and the Colonies; Hidden networks of Botanical science, Ecology and Eugenics at the end of Empire

Arts and Humanities Research Council

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