Tom Young joined the University of Warwick in late 2020 as a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at the History of Art Department. Previously, he lectured at the University of Warsaw and held fellowships at Yale University and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence.
In 2020, Tom was the project curator of the British Museum’s exhibition Tantra: Enlightenment to Revolution. The show charted Tantra’s sustained revolutionary impact, from its early transformation of Hinduism and Buddhism, to the fight for Indian Independence and the rise of 1960s counterculture.
Tom’s current research is centred on two projects. The first explores the global history of lithography, with the ambition of writing a book called Lithography and the Modern World. Lithography’s global impact has never previously been charted, despite the technology enabling the first truly international decentralisation of mass media. The book will chart how the technology’s invention catalysed dramatic cultural and political upheavals across the globe, giving rise to modern ideas and institutions. With societies reeling from the impact of contemporary social media technologies, the book would form the first attempt to map how this earlier revolution in mass media birthed novel identities, nations, religions, and ideas.
His second project is a book called British Art in India’s ‘Age of Reform’, c.1813–58. This project developed from his PhD research, which examined a collection of previously unstudied prints, drawings, and paintings produced in nineteenth-century India. The book uses these materials to present a new interpretation of the East India Company’s nationalisation. Challenging the established idea that British Parliament brought a ‘rogue’ corporation to heel, it argues instead that a revolution in the artistic worlds of colonial society worked to destabilise the Company’s political legitimacy—supporting the growth of middle classes with alternative ideas about how India should be governed, and undermining Anglo-India’s idiosyncratic politics by better connecting the cultural worlds of the British empire. The project demonstrates art’s central place in the history of British colonialism, while also highlighting how ‘British art’ should be understood as a global political phenomenon.
Lithography, artistic technologies, the relationship between art and colonialism, global art history, C19th South Asian art history, C19th East and East-Central European art history.
- BA; MPhil; PhD (Cambridge)