I am a historian, writer, and Fellow at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. From summer 2013, I will be an assistant professor of history at Boston University.
Trained as a historian of South Asia, my book project — the Hungry State: Food and Nation-Building in Modern India — explores the interactions of food, culture, and politics in India’s nationalist movement and its first several decades of independence. Written from traditional and nontraditional archives in South Asia, Europe, the United States and the Middle East, this book interrogates the ways in which changing understandings of food and consumption structured India’s politics, society, and national aspirations. Beginning with the Bengal Famine of 1943 and continuing to the roots of the Green Revolution in the mid-1960s, I trace the lineages of India’s contemporary food crisis, and suggest moments where alternative configurations were possible.
My teaching and research is centered around citizenship, governance, and statehood; comparative colonial and global history (Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia); development, technology, and the politics of expertise; history of economic thought; food politics, famine, and hunger; and modern South Asian politics, economy, and culture.
In previous avatars, I have been a researcher and reporter for Time Magazine in New Delhi and Hong Kong and a contributor to multiple other publications, and from 2007 – 2008 was a Yale University Fox International Fellow at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. In 2011, I was a visiting fellow with Hong Kong University’s Centre for Medicine and the Humanities, and from 2011 to 2012, I was a Junior Fellow of the American Institute of Indian Studies and an affiliate researcher at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute. I received my bachelor’s degree from Yale University, and my master’s degree and doctorate from Harvard University (spring 2014).
My other projects include a second book project on the politics of expertise in modern India, and articles on invasive species, land reform, food adulteration, and a short intellectual history of poverty in India.