March 3, 2023

Sathnam Sanghera

Harvard Book Store welcomes SATHNAM SANGHERA—best-selling author and columnist at The Times—for a discussion of his book Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain. He was joined in conversation by HITESH HATHI—Executive Director of The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute at Harvard University.


Empire—whether British or otherwise—informs nearly everything we do. From common thought to our daily routines; from the foundations of social safety nets to the realities of racism; and from the distrust of public intellectuals to the exceptionalism that permeates immigration debates, the Brexit campaign and the global reckonings with controversial memorials, Empireland shows how the pernicious legacy of Western imperialism undergirds our everyday lives, yet remains shockingly obscured from view.

In accessible, witty prose, award-winning journalist and best-selling author Sathnam Sanghera traces this legacy back to its source, exposing how—in both profound and innocuous ways—imperial domination has shaped the United Kingdom we know today. Sanghera connects the historical dots across continents and seas to show how the shadows of a colonial past still linger over modern-day Britain and how the world, in turn, was shaped by Britain’s looming hand. The implications, of course, extend to Britain’s most notorious former colony turned imperial power: the United States of America, which prides itself for its maverick soul and yet seems to have inherited all the ambition, brutality and exceptional thinking of its parent.

With a new introduction by the author and a foreword by Booker Prize-winner Marlon James, Empireland is a revelatory and lucid work of political history that offers a sobering appraisal of the past so we may move toward a more just future.

About Author(s)

Sathnam Sanghera is the best-selling author of Empireland, Marriage Material, and his memoir, The Boy with the Topknot. A graduate from Christ’s College, Cambridge, columnist and writer at The Times, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Sanghera lives in North London.
Hitesh Hathi is the second Executive Director of The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute. He worked as a producer for one of Boston’s leading NPR stations, WBUR, for over 20 years, most recently as Executive Producer of the show Radio Boston, where he successfully built deeper and richer connections with the region, increasing listenership and making the show into the station’s marquee program. Hitesh received his Master’s of Arts degree from Harvard in Sanskrit and Indian Studies and was a PhD candidate in the Department of South Asian Studies. He has focused on classical Indian aesthetic philosophy, classical and modern literature and architecture, and modern politics.