Dr Luca Raimondi
My project examines the imaginary of the Indian Ocean in the Indian imagination in the ‘long’ 1950s, premised on the idea of Indian Ocean cosmopolitanism, Asian-African solidarity, and the nation. His work traces the lineaments of the Indian Ocean imaginary in key political texts – with a focus on Jawaharlal Nehru’s writings. It also looks at how the Indian Ocean imaginary seeped into the literary imagination of the ‘long’ 1950s, assessing its narrative potential and individual writers’ affiliations to transnational networks of cultural and intellectual affinity. The work combines an interdisciplinary methodology with insights from history, literary criticism and cultural studies, to engage in close reading of key political and literary texts. The imaginaire of the Indian Ocean is juxtaposed against a broader spectrum of cognitive maps that encapsulate India’s spatial practices and representations along linguistic, religious, (post-)imperial, governmental, and Cold War lines.