May 2014 marks one hundred years since the Komagata Maru’s arrival in Vancouver, a Japanese steam ship furnished with a crew from Japan, chartered by Gurdit Singh, and carrying 376 migrants of Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu descent. The ship, also known by some in the Sikh diaspora as ‘Guru Nanak’s Jahaz,’ was detained in Vancouver Harbour for two months, after which time it was then forcibly returned to Calcutta. With the exception of 22 returning residents, the ship’s doctor and his family, none of the passengers were allowed to land. Although many had been living in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaya, and the Philippines, they were forcibly returned to their villages in Punjab.

The repercussions of the Dominion of Canada’s policies and actions were manifest locally in the racism of the Asiatic Exclusion League and in the resistance against South Asian mobilization in Canada. Importantly, the ship’s detention and return also visibly affected other parts of the British Empire. The ship’s anticipated arrival in India was met with the Ingress into India law which allowed the Indian government to detain foreigners and returning residents under the auspices of national and imperial security. When the ship landed, and in response to the efforts of police and colonial agents to send those returning back to their respective villages, a riot allegedly ensued and 26 people were killed in what has now come to be known as the ‘Massacre at Budge, Budge.’ Between 1914 and the 1920s, during the heightened mobilization of anti-colonial activism amongst British Indians in Canada, the US, India, London, and in other parts of the British Empire, most notably South Africa, the Komagata Maru was often recalled as both an apogee of British Imperial racism and as a pivotal moment in the fight against British rule and in the struggle for Indian independence.

The Komagata Maru’s journey, its wider significance in the British Empire, and its contemporary relevance to formations of national-boundaries and subjectivities, forms the basis of our interdisciplinary workshop, ‘Charting Imperial Itineraries, 1914-2014: Unmooring the Komagata Maru’. The organizing themes of ‘charting imperial itineraries’ and ‘unmooring the event’ aim to direct conversations and analyses of the ship away from the historical past and from conventional narratives of Canadian immigration and racial exclusion. The workshop will place the Komagata Maru within a wider imperial context and will examine its significance in past and present global imperial networks.

To be clear, unmooring this event from the conventional historical narratives of Canadian exclusion is not to discard the politics of race and nation. Rather, this workshop seeks to reconsider the ship’s significance to past and viagra y otros ongoing colonial formations and thus aims to expand our understandings of its historical and contemporary relevance. In particular, this workshop seeks to address key gaps in the existing historiography on the Komagata Maru by emphasizing the focus on three areas of inquiry.

The first area is the Global Imperial Histories, which encompasses a view that includes global racial histories, empire building and the politics of imperial in/exclusion. The significance of 1914 in the moment of “empire’s end”, the outbreak of World War 1, the ‘Red Scare’ among other key events shapes the breadth and texture of the imperial itineraries that informed and were produced by the Komagata Maru and its commemorative stories. The histories of this moment are necessarily revisited through critiques of patriarchical power, homonationalism, and the increasing mobility/ restrictions of people of colour.

The second theme centers on Local and Global Encounters of Imperialism. Scholars writing of the Komagata Maru, while focused on the local and national contexts of Vancouver and Canada respectively, have said nothing of how this event was related to other ongoing colonial processes including the displacement and dispossession of Indigenous lands and peoples through British and French resettlement. This second area of inquiry thus seeks to expand theoretical understandings of nationalism and nation-building, and situates these within imperial studies. It moves theories of race beyond the conventional focus on majority-minority relations (South Asians migrants – British rulers) to include the relational dynamics between marginalized groups (e.g. South Asians – Indigenous) within the context of empire.

The buy levitra online usa third theme is Transnational Legacies of the Komagata Maru across Time. This theme centres the temporal scale of the Komagata Maru that shapes historical and contemporary acts of memory, memorialisation and the history of the present, specifically in terms of viewing this story not simply as a memorial relegated to the past, but in terms of the various temporal plains in which the Komagata Maru has become present. Challenging the historical periodization of the “event” as being located in 1914, instead we explore the events of the Komagata Maru as a history of the present so as to examine the various ruptures, discontinuities, breakages with imperial social, political, and cultural productions and resistances over the past century. This third area of inquiry will enrich contemporary understandings of security and anti-terrorism, migration and diaspora, and resistance and radicalism by placing these within a longer historical context.