Born in Mauritius, I have a PhD in History from Warwick and MA and BA degrees from SOAS and Kent respectively. I have taught at Birkbeck and Cardiff and previously worked for Save The Children Fund for a decade. This campaigning background has influenced my research interests which are focused on India and on the southern world, and I remain committed to radical perspectives in history writing. I joined the Open University in 2003 as staff tutor in Bristol and lecturer at the newly established Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies. I joined the History Department in 2008 and am a member of its Empire and Postcolonial Studies Research Group. I am also a member of the OpenSpace Research Centre, the research centre led by the Department of Geography in the Faculty of Social Sciences. I am Director of the Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies from January 2016.
I am Principal Investigator on an AHRC-funded digital history project, Commodity Histories. This is the first digital resource in the UK to focus on the histories of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America, and the website provides a public forum for researchers working globally on the history of commodities to write about original projects, works-in-progress, as well as news and events from their part of the world.
I am also Co-Director of a British Academy interdisciplinary research project, Commodities of Empire (2007-17), with Professor Jean Stubbs of UCL. The project explores the spatial movements of a range of commodities over the past couple of centuries with the aims of interrogating the meanings of ‘globalisation’ and of introducing new historical perspectives from the world beyond Europe.
Finally I am involved in a collaborative research project, Commodities and Anticommodities (2009-13), with colleagues from Wageningen University funded by the NWO, Netherlands. It investigates sustainable modes of indigenous agricultural production in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean during the colonial era, and one of its main outcomes will be a book entitled Local Subversions of Colonial Cultures: Commodities and Anticommodities in Global History which I am co-editing with Dr Harro Maat of Wageningen University. It will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014.
My research interests are primarily focused on South Asia and combine social history with historical geography. I am currently researching the interactions between cotton production and climate change in colonial western India. I have more general research interests in environment and climate history, in the commodity-based interconnections between different places during the colonial period, and in the modern histories of colonial and imperial cities.
I also have theoretical interests in political ecology, marxism, and postcolonialism in terms of the interrogations they pose to the study of history and geography.
I would welcome enquiries from prospective research students in any of the above areas.
2013: Territories of conquest, landscapes of resistance: the political ecology of peasant cultivation in Dharwar, western India, 1818-1840. Journal of Historical Geography, 42, pp. 88-99. Link to paper (ORO)
2012: Cotton, climate and colonialism in Dharwar, western India, 1840-1880. Journal of Historical Geography, 38 (1), pp. 1-17. Link to paper (ORO)
2009a: ‘Interconnected synchronicities: the production of Bombay and Glasgow as modern global ports c.1850-1880’, Journal of Global History, volume 1 part 4, pp. 7-31. Link to paper (ORO)
2009b: ‘Commodities, empires, and global history’ (with Jonathan Curry-Machado). Guest Editorial, special issue of the Journal of Global History, volume 1 part 4, pp. 1-5.
2007: The Colonial City and the Challenge of Modernity: Urban Hegemonies and Civic Contestations in Bombay 1900-1925. Delhi, Orient Longman.
|Empire and Postcolonial Studies Research Group||Group||Faculty of Arts|
|OpenSpace Research Centre||Centre||Faculty of Social Sciences|
|The Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies||Centre||Faculty of Arts|