‘The Book of the Overseas Club’: Reading Spaces of Mobility in the late British Empire through Rudyard Kipling's English Home
My research interests centres around migration, mobility and transnational lives in the British Empire. My interdisciplinary project, in partnership with the National Trust (supervised by Dr Yasmin Khan and Dr Christo Kefalas), focuses on the global connections of Rudyard Kipling’s (1865-1936) personal collection of books, art, furniture and decor held at his house, ‘Bateman’s’, his East Sussex home from 1902 to 1936, and my primary archival site. Kipling traversed the British Empire and beyond: he travelled, wrote and collected extensively, touching six continents, living in four. But, drawing away from the personality of Kipling himself and towards the family and property, this project meditates upon relationships between colonial migrations and mobilities of people, information and things, through a reading of Kipling’s rich, unstudied collections at Bateman’s that centres the materiality and social lives of his possessions, and their emplacement within the home space. The project historicises Kipling for the first time as a migrant and historical agent, and his country estate as a transnational space and nodal point of empire, newly envisaging Bateman’s as a globally connected site intrinsic to producing fin-de-siècle understandings of the racial other, building and producing the imaginative empire.
I did my undergraduate degree in History at the University of Warwick (2016-2019) and an MSc in Migration Studies at the University of Oxford (2019-2020). I worked as a researcher for history podcasts on the history of slavery and empire at Broccoli Productions prior to starting my DPhil in 2021. I am grateful for the support of the AHRC OOC DTP and Baillie Gifford in allowing me to carry out this Collaborative Doctoral Award.