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Soldiers of Empire: The Indian Army in World War II

Join us for a lecture by Tarak Barkawi as part of this spring's Public Policy Lecture Series, The Ends of Empire.

How are soldiers made? Why do they fight? Reimagining the study of armed forces and society, Tarak Barkawi, reader in international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, examines the imperial and multicultural armies that fought in Asia during the Second World War, especially the British Indian Army in the Burma campaign. Going beyond conventional narratives, Barkawi studies soldiers in transnational context, from recruitment and training to combat and memory. Drawing on history, sociology, and anthropology, he critiques the “Western way of war” from a postcolonial perspective. Barkawi reconceives soldiers as cosmopolitan, their battles irreducible to the national histories that monopolize them. 

Tarak Barkawi is the author of Soldiers of Empire: Indian and British Armies in World War II (2017) and Globalization and War (2005). He has written on colonial armies, small wars, the Cold War in the Third World, and on counterinsurgency and the War on Terror. 

This spring’s Public Policy Lecture Series, The Ends of Empire, explores the past, present, and future ends of empires in South Asia. During the series, lecturers will examine contemporary warlordism and “strongman” governance in Afghan provinces post-2001; the imperial and multinational armies that fought in Asia during the Second World War, with a focus on the British Indian army in the Burma campaign; and cross-ethnic political coalitions in the context of the rise of strong ethnic identities in colonial and post-colonial India.

Sponsored by the Munk-Darling Lecture Fund in International Relations. Free and open to the public.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 7:00pm to 8:30pm

Vollum College Center, Vollum lecture hall
3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97202-8199

Event Type



Faculty, Students, Alumni, Open to the Public


Political Science




Public Policy Lecture Series
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