User:Tagirem/French Books on India

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The “French Books on India” site 'is an important reference guide to the research about India and a useful resource for Indian Studies' (Columbia University Libraries).[1] The open access multilingual discovery tool has helped scholars, such as Professor David K. Smith, Eastern Illinois University and Editor-in-Chief of H-France, who 'struggled to find useful sources on India, and [so] this bibliography will be a great assistance.[2]” and offered “congratulations on this outstanding resource" . In July 2016, Jack Kessler (founder of FYI France ISSN 1071-5916, a site online since 1992) wrote a feature in which he praised this “remarkable resource"[3].  Davinder Pal Singh from the Panjab Digital Library has also commented: "Congrats for your project, this is a great effort". Online without interruption since 2011, the site is based around the cultural encounter between France and India as recorded in books arranged in chronological order. Its novely consists of blended rich content of book data, annotations, images, maps and photostories aimed at both browsing general users and specialists reading for research. Starting with texts in French dating from 1531, including full-text copies of hundreds of titles that appeared before 1939 and critical reviews of the most important documents written in English and French by international experts; from 2016 the site has included key texts in Bengali and from 2017 in Tamil which portrayal the cultural contact between Indians and Europeans. Presenting the books in chronological order, this site places them in history and reveals the development of recurring tropes in cross-cultural representations. The books published after 1954 included on the site contain substantial references to the period before that year, including to the 267-year period between 1668 and 1954 when the French nation had a trading presence in India. The site and its 70+ volunteers (listed below) are pioneering a novel development strategy that combines Zooniverse and WIKI methodologies in its multilingual year-to-year cross-referenced pages (via a flag symbol) that its Tamil and Bengali speaking users can browse, read and use in their own research.


The collection of the site’s initial data set began in 2008 and was funded by the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as part of a major award project called Peripheral Voices in Indian Literature and Culture 1750 to 1962, which ran from September 2006 to October 2011. It was led by Dr Ian Magedera and Professor Kate Marsh at the University of Liverpool, initially involving Dr Corinne François-Denève (now at the Université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines) and Kathryn Gibbs (now Dr Kathryn Dale). The AHRC funding enabled the project team to launch in October 2011, both a book and a free-to-use website with the same material in pdf format with ninety or so hyperlinks to full text versions provided by Elisabeth Vernier at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. This funding was supplemented in 2014 by support from a UK India Education and Research Initiative and Indian University Grants Commission cultural heritage project on Encountering the Indian City.


Since its dual physical publication and site launch in October 2011, "French Books on India" has been a mixed media project with both paper and digitally born content. Initially the hyperlinks were the only difference between the two, but as time has passed the site has quickly superseded the paper version, though it is hoped that it will be possible to call on Print on Demand technology to produce future editions. Concerned about the transitory nature and lack of self-archiving in digital media, the site coordinator, Ian Magedera has attempted to record its own development in terms of contributors and content in as much detail as possible. From 2011 on, the project team refused to follow nineteenth-century pretention that bibliography should aim to be complete. In its ‘period of representation’ rule for French books on India published after 1954, the site demonstrates a resolutely selective historical focus on texts that refer back to the period when France had a sovereign presence on Indian soil, recording the long tail of influence in book culture of the physical and territorial encounter between Indians and French. The site does not reproduce material that can be found in other places and formats such as on the commercial Electre database (for material from 1987), on the BnF website (material since 2001) and in paper form in Livres disponibles since 1970. Although volunteer contributors have continued to increase the number of its bilingual annotations, representing original content from 2011, the migration from University hosting and pdf to in 2014 has allowed the project team to greatly enrich the site with original photographs, artwork and video from heritage organizations and private archives. Arguably the most important development has been the sustainable low-cost volunteer based modus operandi which has maintained the quality of the growing contributions through peer review.


Andrew Bowhay, London, UK
Anne Le Sinq, London, UK
Antara Mukherjee, Chandernagore College, India
Anurupa Naik, Institut Français, Pondichery, India
Aparna Ramen, Minneapolis, United States
Arkoprobho Roychowdhury, Serampore College, India
Arya Ghosh, West Bengal, India
Babette Chabout-Combaz, Université de Montréal, Canada
Briana Dincher, Brooklyn, United States
Brigitte Nicolas, Musée de la Compagnie des Indes, Lorient, France
Cécile Jest, Université de Cergy-Pontoise, France
Charles Forsdick, University of Liverpool, UK
Christa Levy, United States
Christopher Bolton, Merseyside, UK
Claire Gallien, Université Montpellier 3, France
Claudine Le Blanc, Université Paris 3 (Sorbonne nouvelle), France
Corinne François-Denève, Université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France
Dhana Underwood, University of Liverpool, UK
Disha Raychaudhuri, West Bengal, India and United States
Élisabeth Vernier, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France
Faith Nelson, United States
Florence D’Souza, Université Lille 3, France
Gargi Bhattacharya, West Bengal, India
Geoff Woollen, University of Glasgow, UK
Gilles Probst, Paris, France
Gobalakichenane, Paris, France
Guy Deleury, Paris, France
Ian Magedera, University of Liverpool, UK
Jati Sankar Mondal, West Bengal, India
Jean-Claude Perrier, Paris, France
Jean-Yves Mollier, Paris, France
Jyoti Mohan, Morgan State University, United States
Karine Daudicourt, London, UK
Kate Marsh, University of Liverpool, UK
Lydia Hounat, Bolton School, UK
Magalie L’Abbé, Austin, Texas, United States
Margaret Majumdar, University of Portsmouth, UK
Massimiliano Vaghi, University of Milan, Italy
Mathilde Bedel, Université d’Aix-en-Provence, France
Maya Boutaghou, University of Virginia, United States
Mircea Itu, Spiru Haret University, Romania
Maya Mukhopadhyay, West Bengal, India
Natasha Hall, Bolton School, UK
Nicola Frith, Bangor University, UK
Patrick Tuck, University of Liverpool, UK
Rachel Brown, Merseyside, UK
Rachel Fines, Bolton School, UK
Ramanuj Konar, Sarat Centenary College, West Bengal, India
Rila Mukherjee, University of Hyderabad, India
Robin Howells, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK
Rupak Banerjee, Chandernagore, West Bengal, India
Saibal Das, Chandernagore, West Bengal, India
Samantha Stubbington, Brighton, UK
Samar Virdi, Chandigarh, India
Samyuktha Ravi, United States
Sanjay Kumar, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, India
Sarah Walkley, Cardiff and London, UK
Sayantani Chakraborti, Visva Bharati University and Deshbandhu College for Girls, University of Calcutta, India
Serge Granger, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada
Shinjini Chattopadhyay, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India and United States
Shubhashis Pan, West Bengal, India
Sophie Kellner, Merseyside, UK
Soumabha Chakraborty, Chandernagore College, India
Srilata Ravi, University of Alberta, Canada
Sujaan Mukherjee, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India
Swati Dasgupta, Delhi University, India
Tagirem Gallego García, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
Thierry Di Costanzo, Université de Strasbourg, France
Vijayalakshmi Rao, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India


The project "French Books on India" has positive responses from a variety of scientific and cultural sources. It has been quoted in academic publications[4] and the service that this online resource provides is highly valued by the scholarly community: “Congratulations on this outstanding resource … I have struggled to find useful sources on India, and this bibliography will be a great assistance.[5]” Professor David K. Smith, Eastern Illinois University and Editor-in-Chief of H-France. In July 2016, Jack Kessler (founder of FYI France) wrote a feature about this “remarkable resource[6]”. Davinder Pal Singh from the Panjab Digital Library has also commented: "Congrats for your project, this is a great effort". The site of Columbia University Libraries lists “French Books on India” as an important reference guide to the research about India and a useful resource for Indian Studies.[7]. In 2017, at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka, Dr. Ian Magedera conducted the discussion "Can historians use WordPress as a research tool? A brief assessment of digital collaboration in ‘French Books on India’[8]"

Printed Publication[edit]

There is a printed published version of the bibliography in its original 2011 launch form, with 60 bilingual annotations and a scholarly introduction which sets the scene for the usefulness of understanding what was written in French about India. Corinne François-Denève, Mircea Itu and Ian Magedera, French Books on India: From Dupleix to Decolonization (Glasgow: University of Glasgow French & German Publications, 2011). ISBN 9780852619223.


  1. ^ It also features on Duke University Library's Primary Sources & Texts page:
  2. ^ Professor David K. Smith, Eastern Illinois University and Editor-in-Chief of H-France.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Professor David K. Smith, Eastern Illinois University and Editor-in-Chief of H-France.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links[edit]

Category:Education Category:France and India Category:French Presence in India Category:Indian Studies