Jasanoff, Maya 1974–
Jasanoff, Maya 1974–
PERSONAL: Born 1974; daughter of Jay (a professor) and Sheila (a professor) Jasanoff. Education: Harvard University, A.B. (summa cum laude), 1996; University of Cambridge, M.Phil., 1997; Yale University, Ph.D., 2002.
CAREER: Writer and educator. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, assistant professor of British history.
MEMBER: Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: Andrew W. Mellon fellowship in the humanities, 1996–97; Jacob K. Javits fellowship, 1998–2002; National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 2005; book-of-the-year selection from London Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, and Independent, and from Economist, all for Edge of Empire: Lives, Culture, and Conquest in the East, 1750–1850.
Edge of Empire: Lives, Culture, and Conquest in the East, 1750–1850, Knopf (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to scholarly journals, including Yale Review, Journal of British Studies, and London Review of Books.
SIDELIGHTS: Maya Jasanoff is an historian with a particular focus on the British Empire of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In her first full-length book, Edge of Empire: Lives, Culture, and Conquest in the East, 1750–1850, she addresses the complicated relationship between the colonial powers and their subject populations, focusing on collectors of art and artifacts, or looters as some post-colonial historians would call them. As a Publishers Weekly contributor explained, "Jasanoff challenges the idea that the British Empire imposed its own culture on its colonies, arguing instead that the empire thrived" by accommodating and even embracing different cultures. The European soldiers, statesmen, and antiquities dealers at the heart of her story "created their often bizarre collections with an underlying purpose. Coming from uncertain and shallow-rooted origins, they sought to 're-fashion' their image and to recreate themselves in their adopted countries with a new social status," noted Richard Gott in the London Guardian. Moving from the British conquest of India to the aftermath of Napoleon's military campaign in Egypt, Jasanoff describes the often unseemly struggle for artifacts against the background of the Anglo-French rush for land in Africa and Asia. London Telegraph contributor Peter Parker concluded, "Jasanoff writes with verve and confidence, marshalling a huge amount of fascinating material into a book that is both highly readable and genuinely revelatory."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2005, Gilbert Taylor, review of Edge of Empire: Lives, Culture, and Conquest in the East, 1750–1850, p. 1987.
Guardian (London, England), August 20, 2005, Richard Gott, "The Collectors."
Library Journal, August 1, 2005, John F. Riddick, review of Edge of Empire, p. 100.
New York Times, October 9, 2005, Mark Mazower, "'Edge of Empire': Skirmishes of Empire."
Publishers Weekly, July 11, 2005, review of Edge of Empire, p. 100.
Telegraph (London, England), August 21, 2005, Peter Parker, review of Edge of Empire.
University of Virginia History Department Web sitehttp://www.virginia.edu/history/ (November 15, 2005), biography of Maya Jasanoff.