E32: Postcards from Madras and Bangalore

I had the good fortune to talk with Dr. Stephen Hughes from the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, SOAS, University of London. He and Emily Stevenson curated an exhibit of postcards in an exhibit titled, From Madras to Bangalore: Picture Postcards as Urban History of Colonial India. Here’s what the exhibit is:

This exhibition covers a selection of picture postcards from the Indian cities of Chennai and Bengaluru between 1900 and the 1930s; then known as Madras and Bangalore. They were the two most important colonial cities in British south India.  By pairing these together, this exhibition tells a tale of how these two cities, although separated by 215 miles, were linked through a set of common representational and material practices. The exhibit explores how postcard practices imagined, figured and performed a colonial encounter by depicting cities’ monuments, street, people and places.

In the early decades of the 20th century, postcards were at the height of their popularity.  They were an innovative and affordable form of communicating.  It has been estimated that in Britain alone approximately six billion postcards passed through the postal system between 1902 and 1910.

You can follow the exhibit on Instagram: soaspostcard

The exhibit is open until 23 September, Tuesday-Sunday 10:30am to 5:00 PM, Thursdays late opening till 8pm.


Music in the episode is Japanese Prog by Rushus and is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (aka Music Sharing) 3.0 International License.

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