Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Ewing Lecture Series

The Ewing Lecture Series was established in 1973 to honor Robert H. Ewing for his 27 years of teaching and service at Lycoming College. A revered teacher and friend of the College, his life was characterized by a deep religious faith, a passion for history, and a strong devotion to a liberal arts education. These qualities touched the lives of all who came in contact with him and led his many friends to establish this annual Lecture Series to bring distinguished historians to campus to share their work with the Lycoming community.

Arunima Datta, Ph.D.

April 16, 2024, 7:30 p.m.

Trogner Presentation Room

William Chester Jordan, Ph.D.

Historian and assistant professor at University of North Texas, Arunima Datta, Ph.D., will deliver a talk entitled, “Waiting on Empire: Indian Travelling Ayahs in Britain,” based on her book of the same name.

Published by Oxford University Press 2023, the book focuses on a largely forgotten group of South Asian travelling ayahs (servants and nannies), who travelled between India and Britain and often found themselves destitute in Britain as they struggled to find their way home to South Asia. While delving into the stories of individual ayahs, the book also re-imagines the experience of waiting within the context of transnational migrations. Datta has also published several articles and chapters concerning South and Southeast Asian histories, labor migration, and women's histories.

As a historian of British Empire and Asian (South and Southeast Asian) history, Datta is constantly exploring the everyday experiences of labor migrants within the context of the British Empire. Datta’s themes of focus in her research include labor, women's history, food, and motions.

Her first book, “Fleeting Agencies: A Social History of Indian Coolie Women in British Malaya,” published by Cambridge University Press 2021 (which has won multiple awards: the NWSA Whaley Book Award; the WAWH Chaudhuri Prize; and the NACBS Stansky Award), disrupts the male-dominated narratives by focusing on gendered patterns of migration and showing how South Asian women labor migrants engaged with the process of migration, interacted with other migrants, with colonial laws and negotiated world wars. The book also introduces the concept of situational or fleeting agency, which contributes to further a nuanced understanding of agency in the lives of Indian coolie women.

Datta also serves as an associate editor for the journals Gender & History and Britain and the World, and as an associate review editor for the American Historical Review.

Past lecturers include:

  • 2023 -  Dr. T. Cole Jones
    “The Tory Rising: Insurrection in the Revolutionary South”
  • 2022 — Dr. William Chester Jordan
    "The Harvest Indeed is Great, but the Labourers are Few; Strangers in the Medieval Countryside"
  • 2019 — Dr. Jane Dailey
    "White Fright: Sex, Race and the African American Freedom Struggle"
  • 2018 — Dr. Peter John Brobst
    "Two Navies, One Highway: Britain, America, and Global Sea Power since 1968"
  • 2017 — Dr. Diane Sommerville
    "The Accursed Ills I Cannot Bear"
  • 2016 — Dr. Paul Freedman
    "Basic Principles of Medieval Cuisine"
  • 2015 — Dr. Jonathan Scott Holloway
    "Whose Memories Matter? Race, Identity, and the Battle for American History"
  • 2014 — Dr. Leslie Brown
    "Power Politics in the Civil Rights Era"
  • 2013 — Dr. Edward Ayers
    "Where Did Freedom Come From?"
  • 2012 — Dr. Stanley Katz
    "Can the Liberal Arts College Help to Save Democracy?"
  • 2011 — Dr. David Witwer
    "The Acid Attack on Victor Riesel and the Racketeer Menace in Cold War America"
  • 2010 — Dr. Barbara A. Hanawalt
    "The Detection of Fraud in the Victualing Trade in Medieval London"
  • 2009 — Dr. Antulio Echevarria, II
    "An American Way of War or Way of Battle?"
  • 2008 — Dr. Kevin Boyle
    "Arc of Justice: The Sweet Case and the Course of Civil Rights"
  • 2007 — Dr. James H. Merrell
    "Revisiting and Revising the Colonial American Frontier"
  • 2006 — Dr. John J. Contreni
    "What Should We Know about the Crusades?"
  • 2005 — Dr. Gabor Boritt
    "The Most Important Election in American History?"
  • 2004 — Dr. David Nasaw
    "Andrew Carnegie: Marking Sense of Making Millions"
  • 2003 — Dr. Mark E. Neely Jr.
    "The American Civil War: Foretaste of Terror?"
  • 2002 — Dr. William H. Flayhart III '66
    "Perils of the Atlantic: Ship Disasters of the 19th Century"
  • 2001 — Dr. Robert H. Zieger
    "Race and Labor in 20th Century America"
  • 2000 — Dr. Ira Berlin
    "The Role of Memory in Writing the History of Slavery"
  • 1999 — Dr. John Lewis Gaddis
    "We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History in light of Recent Revelations from Soviet Archives"
  • 1998 — Dr. James T. Patterson
    "America's Grand Expectations After World War II"
  • 1997 — Dr. Michael Burlingame
    "Emphatically the Black Man's President: Abraham Lincoln & Frederick Douglass"
  • 1996 — Dr. Henry Friedlander
    "The Origins of Nazi Genocide"
  • 1995 — Dr. Joan Hoff
    "Women and the Constitution"
  • 1994 — Dr. Barbara Sicherman
    "The Education of Jane Addams"
  • 1993 — Dr. Mary Beth Norton
    "The Curious Incident of the Gossiping Ladies of New Haven: Gender and Society in Seventeenth-Century America"
  • 1992 — Dr. Roland G. Foerster
    "Defense and Sovereignty: Ten Theses on German Rearmament after the Second World War, 1945-1950"
  • 1991 — Dr. Martin E. Marty
    "The Twentieth Century American Religious Scene: Important Conflicts/Few Dead Bodies"
  • 1990 — Dr. John M. Murrin
    "Baseball, Football and Nineteenth Century American Political Culture"
  • 1989 — Dr. John Wilson
    "Original Intent and the Church State Problem"
  • 1988 — Dr. Peter Paret
    "The History of War as Part of General History"
  • 1987 — Dr. Edward Pessen
    "George Washington Against the Cold War"
  • 1986 — Dr. James H. Smylie
    "Jefferson's Statue for Religious Liberty: Historical, Social, and Constitutional Contexts"
  • 1985 — Dr. Michael Vlahos
    "Strategy and National Culture"
  • 1984 — Dr. Carl E. Prince
    "The Great Riot Year: Jacksonian Democracy and Patterns of American Violence in 1834"
  • 1983 — Dr. Robert T. Handy
    "Common Themes in the Diverse History of Religious Groups in America"
  • 1982 — Dr. Harold E. Deutsch
    "The Influence of Ultra in World War II"
  • 1981 — Dr. Edmund S. Morgan
    "The Invincible Yeoman Farmer"
  • 1980 — Dr. Hans Hillerbrand
    "The Reformation and the Peasants' War: Reflections on Social History"
  • 1979 — Dr. Thomas Barnes
    "Legal History: Does It Have a Past? Does It Have a Future?"
  • 1978 — Dr. Michael Kammen
    "The American Revolution and the Historical Imagination"
  • 1977 — Dr. Oron Hale
    "Administration of Occupied Territories After World War II"
  • 1976 — Dr. Willie Lee Rose
    "Domesticating Domestic Slavery"
  • 1975 — Dr. John Shy
    "Hearts and Minds in the American Revolution: The Social Impact of the Revolutionary War"
  • 1974 — Dr. Roland Bainton
    "Erasmus and the Reformation"