Hankins presents research in Scotland
Louisiana Tech Associate Professor of History Jeffery R. Hankins was one of a large body of scholars from all over the world who gathered in Edinburgh, Scotland, recently to share the results of their research at the Britain and the World Conference. Jointly hosted by the University of Edinburgh and the British Scholar Society, the conference focused on the rise and fall of the British Empire. Titled “The Raj, the Rupee and the Railway: Challenges to India’s Civil Service in the Late 19th Century,” Hankins’s paper addressed England’s use of the India Civil Service examination to exclude native personnel from Britain’s government in India. Despite this handicap, native Indians did find work on the Indian Railway, which was under construction by British companies. According to Hankins, railway company rules were strict in the 1800s, but native workers learned the process of legal appeal, and they also learned industrial skills by working in the shops. By 1900, Hankins found Indians made up the majority of railway workers. Although still called “railway servants,” British law now protected native workers as public employees. Despite England’s efforts to prevent it, Hankins concludes, by the end of the 19th century Indians became an important part of the British colonial administration and the India Civil Service examination proved less a roadblock than it was intended to be. A member of the Louisiana Tech faculty since 2004, Jeffery R. Hankins holds the John D. Winters Endowed Professorship in History. He specializes in the history of Britain and the British Empire, early modern Europe, and colonial America.