I am lucky to have had Liz Anker as an editor; she has been unfailingly helpful and encouraging and I am proud to be a part of her exciting new series. Huge thanks to Camille Robcis for drawing my attention to it and being so supportive. Everyone at Cornell University Press has been an absolute pleasure to work with, in particular Diane Brown, whose calm intelligence has made the whole process seamless, and Jennifer Savran Kelly. Sukanya Banerjee and Seth Koven kindly revealed their identities as reviewers. I thank them for their rigorous, brilliant, and detailed readings and am indebted to them for their generosity and acuity.
For financial support and release time for research, I thank Hunter College and the PSC–CUNY research fund. A yearlong ACLS fellowship and a sabbatical allowed me to get the bulk of my research and writing done. I am also grateful for support and input from my department chairs over the years: Cristina Alfar, Sarah Chinn, and Angie Reyes.
When I first became an academic, I was drawn to Victorian studies because I was raised on British literature at the British schools I went to; I went to those schools because my parents are both from former colonies (Cyprus, India, and Kenya were all in the mix). This book is partly an effort to understand what it means to have received a colonial education and the particular type of double-consciousness that it produces—a question that required me to venture into fields I had little knowledge of at the outset, including the history of colonial India; colonial law; South Asian studies; periodical studies; and the history of print culture in India. Thanks are due to the many, many people who helped me figure out what I needed to know—I hope I’ve remembered all of them below but apologize to anyone I’ve missed.
A heartfelt thank you to those who read work that eventually became a part of this book, and helped make it better: Maeve Adams, Ayelet Ben-Yishai, Shoumik Bhattacharya, Annmarie Drury, Gloria Fisk, Ian Christopher Fletcher, Elaine Freedgood, Laura Frost, Toral Gajarawala, Lauren Goodlad, Hala Halim, Nathan Hensley, Isabel Hofmeyr, Sukeshi Kamra, Anjuli Raza Kolb, Anna Kornbluh, Lara Kriegel, Vince Lankewish, Wendy Lee, Caroline Levine, Tricia Lootens, Meredith Martin, James Mulholland, Janet Neary, Sonali Perera, Lloyd Pratt, Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, Bruce Robbins, Camille Robcis, Jason Rudy, Purvi Shah, Katie Trumpener, Greg Vargo, Gauri Viswanathan, Dan White, and Sandy Young.
For encouragement, advice, helpful feedback, engaged discussion, speaking invitations, and/or searching questions along the way, I thank Rachel Ablow, Dohra Ahmad, Meena Alexander, Greg Allen, Ben Baer, Carolyn Betensky, Samia Bhutan, Shameem Black, Alexander Bubb, Supriya Chaudhari, Zahid Chaudhary, Joseph Chaves, Erik Dussere, Jill Ehnenn, Sarah Ellenzweig, David Eng, Jonathan Farina, Christine Ferguson, Ross Forman, Eileen Gillooly, Jeremy Glick, Abhijit Gupta, Robert Higney, Priti Joshi, Raji Kuar, Sebastian Lecourt, David Lelyveld, Ramesh Mallipedi, Amy Martin, Helena Michie, Benjamin Morgan, Ankhi Mukherjee, Mary Mullen, Stephanie Newell, Patrick O’Malley, Francesca Orsini, Achal Prabhala, Charlotte Priddle, Angie Reyes, Elda Rotor, Todd Shepard, Emily Sibley, Avery Slater, Neelam Srivastava, Faith Wilson Stein, Tyler Talbott, Mark Turner, Alan Vardy, Mike Vasquez, Gary Wilder, Siona Wilson, and Ken Wissoker. Particular thanks to Ross Forman, who offered all the above, read sections of the book, and gave me great restaurant recommendations in London.
Research assistants at the CUNY Graduate Center and Hunter College were immensely helpful at various stages of research and putting the manuscript together: thanks are due to Onur Ayaz, Filipa Calado, Michele Chinitz, Evelen Hough, Sylvia Scahill, Ryan Vera, and Mitchell Wilson. In addition, Zach Fruit and Kyle McCauley supplied meticulous and indispensable research at crucial moments when I couldn’t get to the British Library and I am deeply grateful.
For personal and political reasons, I am attracted to collaborative work, and collaborations and collectivities of various forms were the most rewarding part of working on this project. Members of a New York–based Victorianist writing group (Tim Alborn, Carolyn Berman, Deborah Lutz, Adrienne Munich, Caroline Reitz, and Talia Schaffer) were instrumental in helping me figure out what the book was about in its early stages. My classes at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center have been formative in my thinking at all stages of writing it, especially one on disaffection that I taught at the Graduate Center in Fall 2017—many thanks to the students in that class, both for their insights and their enthusiasm for the material.
Two international scholarly networks allowed me to meet people and learn about archives and research crucial to my work that I otherwise wouldn’t have access to. One was the Commodities and Culture Network, whose conferences in Kolkata, Johannesburg, and New York I attended: a warm thank you to Supriya Chaudhury at the University of Jadavpur in Kolkata and Isabel Hofmeyr at the University of Witswatersand for being as generous and inspiring as hosts as they are as scholars. The second is the Postcolonial Print Cultures Network. I am grateful to Rajeswari Sunder Rajan for inviting me in, and to Elaine Freedgood for introducing me to her in the first place, getting me involved in the Commodities and Culture Network, and generously sharing resources of time and space, all while serving as the model of intellectual and political integrity that she is.
Participants at a series of panels at the ACLA and MLA annual meetings on Imperial Publics that I co-organized with James Mulholland were important to my thinking, as was the Working Group on the Universal Races Congress at the Center for Race and Ethnicity at Rutgers University, run by Mia Bay and Seth Koven. Thanks also to audiences at American University; George Washington University; New York University; Northwestern University; Oxford University; Princeton University; Rutgers University; University of Illinois at Chicago; University of Maryland; University of Northern Colorado; University of Warwick; University of Wisconsin–Madison; and, of course, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, who offered valuable feedback on various parts of the project.
For companionship, motivation, and solidarity, I am grateful to Gloria Fisk, Anjuli Raza Kolb, Meredith Martin, and Nicole Rice, each of whom worked alongside me at cafés and libraries for significant stretches of the writing of this book, and whose collective brilliance could power the sun. While, for geographic reasons, they seldom wrote alongside me, Jason Rudy and Janet Neary were there for me the whole time. I couldn’t have finished this book without their unconditional support and unwavering good judgment, both emotional and intellectual; I feel incredibly lucky to be collaborating with them in writing and in life. I am also grateful for the ongoing support of Carolyn Williams, who was my dissertation director and is still the person I write for in my head. Sanda Lwin and Chris Barter entertained and accommodated me in London on my many trips to the British Library, where much of my primary research was conducted, and I appreciate their generosity and company. Karen Pittelman, writing coach extraordinaire and literal rock star, got me across the finish line. My brother, Alexis Agathocleous, and his work on criminal justice reform helped inspire my interest in colonial law. I am grateful to him, my parents, Chris O’Brien, and my daughter Zora for their love, support, and patience with my distraction as I completed this book. And thanks to Kevin Quirolo, who was there for all the hard parts. I’m so happy to have you in my world—for a day or a lifetime.