Category Archives: History

A Brief Note on John Adams (The HBO TV Miniseries)

The HBO miniseries John Adams (2008) was one of the two TV shows that I binge-watched in the Fall 2014 semester. The show’s evident unadulterated creative process, engaging story telling and commitment to historical accuracy kept me hooked to the computer screen right through it’s seven episodes.

The series, which was directed by Tom Hooper (who went on to direct The King’s Speech and Les Miserables), rightfully received critical acclaim (winning four golden globes and thirteen Emmy awards). I have been trying to understand the events and ideas of the American Revolution for sometime now, and through this show, I was able to develop a basic understanding for the life of one of the centrally important founding fathers of the United States. There were many interesting ideas and events that I made a note to follow-up on as I watched the show (the Boston Massacre, John and Abigail Adams’ amazing relationship, Thomas Jefferson’s emphasis on small Government, Alexander Hamilton setting up the First Bank of the United States etc etc). I have included a small fraction of those notes in this post.

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The Contradictions and Contemporary Relevance of Orientalism

British Raj

Every application of knowledge and especially such as is obtained in social communication with people, over whom we exercise dominion, founded on the right of conquest, is useful to the state … It attracts and conciliates distant affections, it lessens the weight of the chain by which the natives are held in subjection and it imprints on the hearts of our countrymen the sense of obligation and benevolence… Every instance which brings their real character will impress us with more generous sense of feeling for their natural rights, and teach us to estimate them by the measure of our own… But such instances can only be gained in their writings; and these will survive when British domination in India shall have long ceased to exist, and when the sources which once yielded of wealth and power are lost to remembrance (Warren Hastings, The first Governor-General of Bengal)

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