Mikko Toivanen | Researcher

I began my PhD at the European University Institute in 2015, having previously completed a BA in History and Politics at the University of Warwick and an MA in Colonial and Global History at Leiden University. My project, provisionally titled ‘Colonial Tours: the politics of popular travel writing from Anglo-Dutch South/Southeast Asia, 1845-1875’, examines the role of new kinds of popular, leisurely and touristic travel accounts from British Ceylon and the Straits Settlements and the Dutch East Indies in shaping public discourse and the colonial imaginary in the mid-nineteenth century. In particular, I’m interested in how these publications filtered, simplified and reinforced elements of the colonial scientific canon – including racial and cultural stereotypes – for a broader audience, while also providing opportunities for counter-narratives and models for a new way of experiencing the colonies. By looking at both British and Dutch writers travelling in the colonial world of Ceylon and Southeast Asia I aim to move beyond the idea of national colonialisms and employ a more fruitful, transnational conceptualisation of European imperial culture in this specific colonial space and at this specific time.

Contact email: mikko.toivanen@eui.eu