Making Britain: South Asian Visions of Home and Abroad 1870-1950

Project Description:

As historians have shown, Britain has had a migrant South Asian population for over 350 years, since its early trading encounters with India. But the perception that a homogeneous British culture only began to diversify after the Second World War persists, and research into the South Asian diaspora in Britain has focused predominantly on this later, post-independence period. While this diasporic population has become increasingly numerous and influential since the end of empire, Asians in Britain were in fact engaging with and challenging canonical culture well before this time.Building on historian Rozina Visram’s seminal work Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History, as well as scholarly initiatives by leading members of the core and advisory teams, this collaborative, interdisciplinary project examined South Asian participation in intellectual and literary networks, art movements, and activist groupings during this under-explored period of Britain’s multicultural history. The Making Britain Database is available at The project was concluded in September 2010. Elleke Boehmer is now completing a monograph, India Arrived, investigatng findings emerging from the project's research.