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Durba Ghosh Ghosh

Associate Professor

Office: 321 McGraw Hall
Phone: 254-5092
Fax: (607) 255-0469
Updated CV (2014)

Office Hours: By Appointment

Research and Teaching Interests

I teach courses on modern South Asia, the British empire, gender, and colonialism and a freshman-writing seminar on Gandhi. My teaching and research interests focus on understanding the history of colonialism on the Indian subcontinent. For my first project, I have written extensively on gender, culture, law, archives, and colonial governance in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century India, and was interested in the kind of everyday history that occurs in families and households.

My current research focuses on popular and radical political movements in early and mid-twentieth century India and the ways in which violence against the British colonial state became an important, but historically underemphasized, form of protest. In working on this project, I have become fascinated with the ways that political violence becomes a central part of popular historical narratives.


For more information and links to current courses, go to: History's Courses Page

Courses Taught at Cornell

History 1190: Gandhi and the Politics of Nonviolence (Freshman writing seminar)
History 1910: Introduction to Modern Asian History
History 2190: Women and Gender in South Asia (Sophomore seminar)
History 2749: Mughal India and the Early Modern World, 1500-1800
History 2750: History of Modern South Asia, 1700 – 1947
History 4000: Honors Proseminar
History 4001-4002: Honors Guidance Seminar
History 6000: Graduate Research Seminar
History 6250: Gender, State, and Society in South Asia
History 4920/6920: India in the Twentieth Century: nationalism, colonialism, modernity


Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 2000
M.A. University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1994
B.A. Wesleyan University, 1989

Recent Publications


Sex and the Family in Colonial India: the making of empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

Co-editor with Dane Kennedy, Decentring Empire: Britain, India and the Transcolonial World (Delhi: Orient Longman, 2006).


"An Archive of 'Political Trouble in India': history-writing, anticolonial violence, and colonial counterinsurgency, 1905-37" in The Handbook of the History of Terrorism, edited by Carola Dietze and Claudia Verhoeven, published online, 2014.

"History Makes Women Well-behaved: Revolutionary Women, Nationalist Heroes" Gender and History 25.2 (August 2013): 355-75.

"Roundtable on Historiographic 'Turns' in Critical Perspective: Another Set of Imperial Turns?" American Historical Review 117.3 (June 2012): 772-93.

"Exhibiting Asia: Museums, Consumption, and Commerce," in Contested Histories in Public Space: Memory, Race, and Nation, edited by Daniel J. Walkowitz and Lisa Knauer (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009).

"Introduction," in Decentring Empire: Britain, India and the Transcolonial World, written with Dane Kennedy (Delhi: Orient Longman, 2006).

"Terrorism in Bengal: imperial strategies of political violence and its containment in the interwar years," in Decentring Empire (Delhi: Orient Longman, 2006).

"Who counts as 'native?': gender, race, and subjectivity in colonial India," Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 6.3 (2005).

"National Narratives and the Politics of Miscegenation: Britain and India" in Archive Stories, edited by Antoinette Burton (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005).

"Decoding the Nameless: Gender, Subjectivity, and Historical Methodologies in Reading the Archives of Colonial India," in A New Imperial History: Culture, Identity, Modernity, 1660-1840, edited by Kathleen Wilson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

"Household Crimes and Domestic Order: Keeping the Peace in Colonial Calcutta, c.1770- c.1840," Modern Asian Studies 38, 3 (July 2004): 598-624.

"Making and Un-making Loyal Subjects: Pensioning Widows and Educating Orphans in Early Colonial India," Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 31 (January 2003): 1-28.

Awards and Fellowships

Fulbright Faculty Research Fellowship (declined), 2014-2015
William Evans Visiting Fellowship, University of Otago, New Zealand, Summer 2012
American Philosophical Society Sabbatical Fellowship, Fall 2009
Cambridge University, Clare Hall Visiting Fellowship, Spring 2009
American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), Senior Research Fellowship, 2008-2009
Fulbright Faculty Research Fellowship (declined), 2008-2009
Robert and Helen Appel Fellowship for Humanists and Social Scientists, 2008
Faculty Research Grant, Cornell University, 2006-2007
LaFeber Research Grant, Cornell University, Summer 2006
Faculty Research Grant, Wellesley College, 2000-2001, 2001-2003
American Historical Association (AHA), Bernadotte E. Schmidt Research Grant, Summer 1999
American Association of University Women (AAUW), Dissertation-writing Fellowship, 1998-99
UC Chancellor’s Dissertation-writing Fellowship (declined), 1998-99
American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), Junior Research Fellowship, 1996-97

Admitted to fields in FGSS and Asian Studies.


South Asia Program