My current research interests lie in the field of gender in a global context, and I am writing a single volume global history of gender. I have also written on many aspects of empire, nationalism and post-colonial identity in India and Britain, including the politic of race and business in the late colonial era, the martial culture of Gandhian nationalism and the place of the Raj in Indian memory
I have recently been awarded the first AHRC Fellowship in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
I began my research career with a cultural study of the role of race and identity in the relationship between British and Indian businessmen in late colonial India. I have since written a general history of India from the late nineteenth century to the present, and have published articles on several aspects of the cultural and intellectual development of Indian nationalism throughout the twentieth century. I am currently writing a global history of gender, taking a long historical perspective: I am interested synthesising insights from cultural studies, literary approaches and the social sciences to offer an integrated analysis of how gender has evolved over time and space in the long duree, and of the interconnections between colonial, colonised and post-colonial perspectives in shaping current debates and controversies over the global gender order.
Vishnu’s Crowded Temple: India Since the Great Rebellion (Penguin 2007; Yale 2008)
There can be few more discussed countries in the world today than India. In recent years it has shed its popular image as a poor, tradition-bound backwater to stand poised on the threshold of super-power status, rivalled only by China as the greatest winner in the post-Cold War world order.
I was the principal academic contributor to the film: ‘Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death’ (Dir. Peter Bate, 2003); and also to the recent documentary film ‘India’s Daughter’ (Dir. Leslie Udwin, 2015)
Is the Mau Mau settlement a good thing for the UK?
13 June 2013
I contributed to numerous TV programmes including BBC’s ‘Question Time’ [1.2.01; 8.11.01; 26.6.03], Channel 4 News, ‘The British Empire in Colour’; I have also been a participant in Radio 4’s series ‘In Our Time’ several times, and was a consultant for Radio 4’s ‘New Elizabethans’ in 2012
I was a judge for the Samuel Johnson non-fiction prize in 2005, and have been on the judging panel for the Terence Reese prize for Imperial and Commonwealth history for several years.
I am a regular reviewer for the Financial Times and Prospect Magazine, and have written for The Times, The Guardian and The Independent
I would like to hear from potential DPhil students regarding in all aspects of South Asian history (though especially intellectual and cultural history) of the C19 and C20; also topics in global history, especially gender and the history of ideas
I currently teach:
Approaches to History
General History XVIII: Global & Imperial, 1750-1914
History of the British Isles VII, 1924-present
Further Subject, ‘Postcolonial Historiography: Writing the Indian Nation’
Special Subject: ‘From Gandhi to the Green Revolution: India, Independence and Modernity’