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South Asia ORCs Organize Mumbai Conference on Colonialism and Globalization

Elphinstone Conference

The cultural organization Jnanapravaha Mumbai hosted the conference “Mountstuart Elphinstone: Between Local and Global Forces” on April 20-21, 2017. Professor Shah Mahmoud Hanifi of James Madison University organized the conference, which was co-sponsored by the American Institutes of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indian, Pakistan, and Sri Lankan Studies, among other organizations.

The conference brought together 28 scholars from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and the United States.

The purpose of the conference was to examine the enduring intellectual and political impact of Mountstuart Elphinstone (1779-1859) through consideration of the knowledge formations he represented and those he engaged in South Asia. Elphinstone is most widely recognized for his highly transformative tenure as Governor of Bombay (1817-29) and his influential History of India (1841). While he is well known as a foundational figure in the early intellectual and political history of British India, Elphinstone is less widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of Afghanistan Studies.

The American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) sat down with Professor Hanifi to discuss the resonance of the themes of the Elphinstone Conference in modern-day globalized South Asia. Read the full interview here.

For more information on the 2017 and future Elphinstone conferences, visit

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