About the ProjectInspired by Pandita Ramabai's 1889 travelogue The Peoples of the United States, Visions of America maps the public discourse about America circulating in India in the late nineteenth-century. We imagine digital humanities projects such as this one increase access to histories otherwise unavailable to the public. According to Pandita Ramabai in the Preface to her book:
Wanting to explore Ramabai’s claims in detail we headed to the archives in search of newspaper references to the American peoples. Like Ramabai we were interested in what America meant to the Indian public, particularly in areas such as culture, politics, gender, and daily life. Based in the U.S., we are well aware of the insular narratives that shape our views of other cultures and wondered what could be gained from looking at the U.S. from an outside perspective. While Ramabai offered one such vision of America we wanted to collect and organize a more diverse set of perspective on American life in the late nineteenth-century.
The “United States of America” is a name that would be familiar to many; and many must have seen the map of the country while studying geography. But very few in our country can have any knowledge of the true worth of the United States, the activities of its people, its social conditions and political system, and other such things (54).