I study and teach the social and cultural history of South Asia and British imperialism since the eighteenth century. My research explores the role of British colonialism in reshaping the agrarian frontier of eastern Bengal and the political economy of intoxicant commodities. To do so, I examine how rural geographies, agrarian social life, sacral ties and cosmologies, imperial print culture, and practices of state formation were continuously shaped by substances and pursuits of intoxication. My work brings histories of multispecies entanglements to bear upon categories of social history, such as class, race, caste, gender and the body using critical materialist and anti-imperial approaches to history.
I am broadly interested in commodities and capital, labor history, peasant politics, popular culture, social movements, and gender and empire. My courses include introductory surveys of South Asian history, commodity history in a critical global perspective, and upper division classes on public culture with a focus on the history of caste, labor, and gender. In addition, I also teach or co-teach interdisciplinary courses on topics such as race and co-operative economics and the history of cannabis and colonialism in the modern world.
At the graduate level, my courses cover global approaches to South Asian history, empire and decolonization, historical methods, and the history of the Indian Ocean World.
Research and Teaching Interests:
- Modern South Asia
- British Imperial History
- Indian Ocean World
- Commodity History
- Internationalism and Marxist thought
- Historical Methods
- “Political Economy, Intoxication, and Sacral Binds in Imperial History.” (forthcoming)
- “Bodies that Cohere: Notes on Ganja and Gender in Colonial India” Indian Journal of Gender Studies 30.1 (2023): 55-77.
- “Reading Cannabis in the Colony: Law, Nomenclature, and Proverbial Knowledge in British India,” Social History of Alcohol and Drugs 36. 2 (2022): 201-37. Interviewed in “Cannabis narratives in British India,” Points – The Blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society, 6 Oct 2022.
- “A Primer for Rebellion: Indian Cannabis and Imperial Culture in the Nineteenth Century,” English Language Notes 60.1 (2022): 101-21.
- “Vulture,” “Xerus,” and “Unicorn” in Renisa Mawani and Antoinette Burton eds. Animalia: An Anti-Imperial Bestiary for Our Times (Durham: Duke University Press, 2020)
- “Dagga and Prohibition: Markets, Animals, and the Imperial Contexts of Knowledge, 1893–1925,” South African Historical Journal 71.4 (2019): 587-613. Abridged in “Cannabis in South Africa: The Duplicity of Colonial Authorities,” The Conversation – Africa, 4 Feb 2020; Points – The Blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society, 7 Apr 2020.
- “Labor: Identities and Time under Empire” in Kirsten McKenzie ed. A Cultural History of Western Empires in the Age of Empire 1780-1920, (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), 119-146.
- “Talking History: E.P. Thompson, C.L.R. James, and the Afterlives of Internationalism,” Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques, 41(1), 2015. Republished in Fortado and Burton eds. Histories of a Radical Book: E.P. Thompson and the Making of the English Working Class, New York: Berghahn, 2020, 113-30. Book Roundtable: “Histories of a Radical Book: A Roundtable Conversation on Empire, Colonialism, and E.P. Thompson’s Making,” Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 22 (2), 2021.
- “Time to move on?” Kritik, June 26, 2014.
- “Review. Lucas Richert and James Mills eds., Cannabis: Global Histories,” Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 23(1), 2022.
- “Review. Samia Khatun, Australianama,” American Historical Review 125(4), 2020, 1408-09.
- “Review. Benjamin Breen, The Age of Intoxication,” Journal of British Studies 60(2), 2021, 440-41.
- “Empire and Indifference,” Victorian Literature and Culture 47(4), 2019, 835-42.
- “Review. Stolte and Schrikker eds. World History: A Genealogy,” Itinerario 43(2), 2019, 369-71.
2022-3: Winter and Spring
- HIST 282E – Empire and Decolonization in South Asia
- INT 84CX – Plant, Drug, Weed: Cannabis and World History
- HIST 282G – Global South Asia
- INT 187AM – Race, Colonialism, and the Co-Operative
- HIST 88 – Survey of South Asian History
- HIST 9 – Commodity History
- HIST 9 – Commodities and Labor in Colonial South Asia
- HIST 189M – South Asian Public Culture
- HIST 201C – South Asia and the Indian Ocean
- HIST 202 – Historical Methods
Honors and Professional Activities:
- 2023 Faculty Fellowship, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, UC Santa Barbara (2023-24)
- 2022 University of California Regents Humanities Faculty Fellowship (2022-23)
- 2021 Faculty Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies (2021-22)
- 2020 UC Santa Barbara Faculty Career Development Award
- 2019 UCSB-Mellon Foundation Engaging Humanities Foundational Course Redesign Award
- 2016 Thomas and Barbara Metcalf Junior Research Fellowship in Indian History, American Institute of Indian Studies.
- 2015 Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) Prize for Research in the Humanities, University of Illinois.