Lecturer in South Asian History, University of Reading

I am Lecturer in South Asian History at the University of Reading (2015-present). I am particularly interested in the histories of science and medicine, histories of empire and colonialism, environmental history, and animal history. I am the author of Malarial Subjects: Empire, Medicine and Nonhumans in British India, 1820-1909 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017) and co-editor (with Guy Attewell) of Locating the Medical: Explorations in South Asian History (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2018).

I have put together a co-edited special issue on "Nonhuman Empires" (with Sujit Sivasundaram) for the journal "Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East", (35.1, May 2015). I received my PhD from University College London (2009), and have held postdoctoral fellowships at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta (2009-2010), at the University of Cambridge (2011-2013), and at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin (2013-2015). I have been a Barnard-Columbia Weiss International Visiting Scholar in the History of Science.

My current project Imperial Insects examines the extent to which nineteenth-century British imperialism shaped the discipline of entomology (the 'scientific study of insects'), and how the figure of insects in turn informed the contours of colonial history. With focus on the history of insects in South Asia, I explore the interactions between the imperial worlds of laboratory medicine, colonial governance, natural history, commerce and vernacular print. I examine the imbrications of enclosed cabinets of naturalists as well as insulated entomological laboratories with wider public cultures, which reflected a variety of promises, prejudices and stereotypes relating to insects.

Alongside working on my own projects I have continued to collaborate with colleagues in organizing various workshops and conferences on themes such as 'Locating the Medical in South Asian History' (London, 2010); 'Public and Private' (Calcutta, 2010); 'Nonhuman Empires' (Cambridge, 2012); 'Unusual Lives' (Berlin, 2014), 'Global Science' (New Delhi, 2014), 'Object Lessons and Nature Tables: Research Collaborations between Historians of Science and University Museums' (Reading, 2016), 'Tiger Cultures’ (London, 2016), and 'Political Animals in Southern Asia' (Reading, 2017).

Experience

  • –present
    Lecturer in South Asian History, University of Reading