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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

COFUND Senior Research Fellow's Seminar - 'Lighting the Empire': Towards a Global Resource and Knowledge History of Lighting

22nd May 2014, 17:00 to 18:00, IAS Seminar Room, Cosin's Hall, Palace Green, Dr. Ute Hasenöhrl (Leibniz-Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning, Erkner, Germany)

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, urbanisation and industrialisation processes significantly modified the relations between urban and rural areas, centre and periphery, western and non-western societies. Massive flows of people, goods, capital, institutions, and ideas led to intertwined changes all over the world; on the physical as well as on the socio-economic and cultural level.  

One example for these circulation and globalisation tendencies is the development and introduction of new lighting technologies. The establishment of infrastructures for gas and electric light since the 1820s resp. 1880s not only often depended on the import of resources from remote regions. The diffusion of new technologies for artificial light also resulted in a standardisation of nocturnal spaces, perceptions and practises. Focussing on the British Empire (India, Canada, Sudan/Egypt) during the 19th and 20th centuries, the seminar explores the resources, infrastructures, and institutions necessary for the global diffusion of new lighting technologies, the juxtaposition of artificial light and nature, as well as its functioning as an instrument of power and control in colonial contexts. 

This seminar is part of the Department of History African Studies seminar series. 

Places are limited and so any academic colleagues or students interested in attending the seminar should contact the institute in advance to reserve a place.

Contact for more information about this event.