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Kenneth McPherson, 1944-2010 April 3, 2010

Posted by katesullivan in : India, Stoddart, Brian , comments closed

Brian Stoddart

Kenneth McPherson, whose death has occurred in Perth, was destined to write about both India and the sea, and in doing so became an eminent historian of India’s Muslim communities and an internationally acknowledged authority on the peoples and cultures of the Indian Ocean.

Ken McPherson was born in Liverpool and first came to Fremantle with his parents, Joan and Ian, in 1948.  Ian McPherson returned to the United Kingdom and the sea soon after.  Following a socially tough but academically outstanding education at Christian Brothers College in Fremantle, where he was School Captain in 1961, Ken won a Commonwealth Scholarship to the University of Western Australia and began, unsuccessfully, in science before taking a major in history, beginning the specialization on Asia that set his career.  His UWA Honours thesis was on Chinese history, while his Masters tracked the political history of the Madras Muslims, so placing him among the first modern Australian scholars to research Islam deeply and seriously.   He then won a scholarship to the Australian National University in Canberra where a similar study of Calcutta Muslims, directed in part by Ravinder Kumar, earned him the PhD. (more…)