Imperial internationalism: the Round Table Conference and the making of India in London, 1930-32

Legg, Stephen (2018) Imperial internationalism: the Round Table Conference and the making of India in London, 1930-32. Humanity . ISSN 2151-4372 (In Press)

Full text not available from this repository.


This paper argues that we can view the Round Table Conference (three sittings between 1930-32) as an international organisation that re-assembled the technology of the colonial Indian state. The conference is traditionally associated with colonial and anti-colonial leaders adopting federal nationalism rather than radical internationalism, or international-facing Dominion status, as their goal. In this new reading the conference is posed at the intersection of Fred Halliday’s three typologies of internationalism, namely, radical (anti-colonial), liberal (League of Nations) and hegemonic (imperial). Within the liberal internationalist form of the conference, radical anti-colonialism was ultimately subsumed by imperial internationalism, but the latter was much altered by these interactions. This argument is made in two stages. First, the influence of the League of Nations on the conference is examined, through exploring its role as model, precedent and potential arbiter, and through exploring the time spent in Geneva by conference delegates. Second the paper explores the influence of forms of internationalism at the London conference. The Round Table meetings conformed to many of the interwar criteria for what constituted an international conference, while various delegates used the meetings to argue for their forms of pan-Islamic, labour, or spiritual internationalism. While commonly viewed as a failure, the conference resulted in the 1935 Government of India Act, which laid the foundations for the constitution of independent India, and trained many future Indian leaders in the art of state-crafting. As such this paper brings new theorisations of the international to bare on significant new archival and prosopographical material, making an original contribution to revisiting a founding moment in Indian political history.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Unedited draft. Not for citation.
Keywords: Internationalism; imperialism; round table conference; anti-colonialism; london
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Geography
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Legg, Dr Stephen
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2018 12:02
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 19:39

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View