Shakespeare as an Instrument of Epistemic Violence

  • Santanu Niyogi


This paper illustrates the imperial design underlying the introduction of English education system in the nineteenth century. The establishment of the first three Indian universities alongside the judicial, penal and medical institutions was an attempt to bring the colonised under the ambit of disciplinary power. What this paper undertakes is to situate Shakespeare as an author function in this colonial enterprise of epistemic subjugation through English education and also to explore how he was imposed on the colonised intelligentsia as the ultimate icon of British cultural supremacy. As a postcolonial subject, it is worth introspecting how Shakespeare was used in the imperial scheme as an instrument of epistemic violence to discipline the colonised psyche towards a hegemonic acceptance of British imperialism. The efficiency of execution as well as the efficacy of this imperial agendum is evidenced by his consequent reception among the educated Indian elite along the desired colonial lines which reigned supreme, not only during the colonial era but till date, through the pedagogical practices of a large section of the Indian academia.


Imperial Shakespeare Disciplinary power Epistemic violence Shakespeare and the Indian academia Cultural subjugation Shakespeare reception 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Santanu Niyogi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishRaniganj Girls’ CollegeBurdwanIndia

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