Document Type

Open Access Article

Author Biography

Oishani Sengupta is an assistant professor of English at the University of Texas at El Paso. Her work explores the role of colonial visual print culture in shaping race-making in the transatlantic and Indian Ocean worlds.


This article posits that John Lockwood Kipling’s Beast and Man in India (1891), the illustrated compendium on animals that mixes discussions of colonial cross-species entanglements with personal reflections on transforming local arts and crafts in India in the service of imperial power, is a multiauthored book. Centering the presence of Indian illustrators as central to Beast and Man’s texture, this essay uses the term “imperial citation” to highlight the range of strategies Kipling uses to overtly and covertly appropriate the labor of Indigenous creators within the fabric of this volume. By placing the material text within the context of colonial print culture and Kipling’s extensive involvement with art pedagogy in India, the author close reads Kipling’s animal ethnography alongside elements of layout and illustration to analyze his metaphoric use of “animal training” as a method of suppressing the cultural agency of Indian artists working under him. A critique of Kipling’s concept of animal training is a starting point for doing colonial bibliography reparatively, suggesting the need to overcome existing paradigms of inequitable description as essential to generating an anticolonial bibliographic practice.

(In the issue section "Uncovering Labor")