Chapter 7. Excavating Histories of Terror: Thugs, Sovereignty, and the Colonial Sublime

  1. Elleke Boehmer Professor2 and
  2. Stephen Morton Senior Lecturer3
  1. Alex Tickell Senior Lecturer

Published Online: 5 NOV 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444310085.ch7

Terror and the Postcolonial

Terror and the Postcolonial

How to Cite

Tickell, A. (2009) Excavating Histories of Terror: Thugs, Sovereignty, and the Colonial Sublime, in Terror and the Postcolonial (eds E. Boehmer and S. Morton), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444310085.ch7

Editor Information

  1. 2

    University of Oxford, UK

  2. 3

    University of Southampton, UK

Author Information

  1. University of Portsmouth, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 NOV 2009
  2. Published Print: 2 OCT 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405191548

Online ISBN: 9781444310085



  • excavating histories of terror - thugs, sovereignty, and colonial sublime;
  • Michael Ondaatje's novel of Sri Lankan conflict, Anil's Ghost (2000);
  • Sri Lankan situation as conveyed in Anil's Ghost - terror as “a national disease”;
  • complex evocation of loss and fear of loss and excavation;
  • Ondaatje's ghostly novel - emphasising excavation;
  • South Asian terror campaign and “archive of bones”;
  • secret burial of travelers on (north) Indian roads - thugs or gangs of phansigars or stranglers;
  • excavating histories of terror;
  • postcolonial reading of thuggee;
  • Sleeman's anti-thuggee campaign


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • References and Further Reading