I am a historian of British Empire and Asian (South and Southeast Asian) history. In my research and teaching I am constantly exploring the everyday experiences of labor migrants within the context of the British Empire. My themes of focus in my research are: labor, women's history, food and emotions.
My first book, Fleeting Agencies: A Social History of Indian Coolie Women in British Malaya, published by Cambridge University Press 2021 (which has won multiple awards: the NWSA Whaley Book Award; the WAWH Chaudhuri Prize; and the NACBS Stansky Award) disrupts the male- dominated narratives by focusing on gendered patterns of migration and showing how South Asian women labor migrants engaged with the process of migration, interacted with other migrants, with colonial laws and negotiated world wars. The book also introduces the concept of situational or fleeting agency, which contributes to further a nuanced understanding of agency in the lives of Indian coolie women. My second book, Waiting on Empire: A History of Indian Travelling Ayahs in Britain, published by Oxford University Press 2023 focuses on a largely forgotten group of South Asian travelling ayahs (servants and nannies), who travelled between India and Britain and often found themselves destitute in Britain as they struggled to find their way home to South Asia. While delving into the stories of individual ayahs the book also re-imagines the experience of waiting within the context of transnational migrations. I have also published several articles and chapters, concerning South and Southeast Asian histories, labor migration and women's histories.
I also serve as an Associate Editor for the journals Gender & History and Britain and the World, and as an Associate Review Editor for the American Historical Review.
Waiting on Empire: A History of Indian Traveling Ayahs in Britain, Oxford University Press (2023)
Fleeting Agencies: A Social History of Indian Coolie Women in British Malaya, Cambridge University Press (2021)*
Winner of: the NWSA Whaley Book Award (2021);
Winner of: the WAWH Chaudhuri Prize (2022);
Winner of: the NACBS Stansky Award (2022)
Articles and Book Chapters:
"Stranded: How Travelling Indian Ayahs negotiated War and Abandonment in Europe," Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 30:1(2023): 33-54
"Race, Anxiety and Shopping in the Australian Outback: Indian Hawkers and Victoria's 1884 Smallpox Outbreak," in Ajaya Sahoo (ed), Routledge Handbook of Asian Transnationalism (Routledge, 2022) 281-293
"Becoming Visible: Travel Documents and Travelling Ayahs in the British Empire," South Asian Studies, 38: 2 (2022): 141-160
"Pony Up!: Managing Destitution among British Grooms from Australia in Nineteenth Century India," Journal of Labour History, 122:1 (2022): 155-179
"Responses to Traveling Indian Ayahs in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Britain," Journal of Historical Geography, 71 (2021): 94-103 -Winner of Coordinating Council of Women in History, Carol Gold Award, 2022 (for the best article published in 2021 in any field of history)
"Knocker Ups: A Social History of Waking up in Victorian Britain's Industrial Towns," Journal of Victorian Culture, 25:3 (2020): 331-348 -Selected as JVC Editor's Choice Article, Summer 2020
""Immorality", Nationalism and the Colonial State in British Malaya: Indian 'coolie' women's intimate lives as ideological battleground," in Barbara Bush and June Purvis, eds., Connecting Women's Histories: The local and the global (Routledge, 2018), 91-108
"Negotiating Gendered Spaces in Colonial Press: Wives of European Planters in British Malaya," Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, 18:3 (2017)
"Immorality', Nationalism and the Colonial State in British Malaya: Indian 'coolie' women's intimate lives as ideological battleground," Journal of Women's History Review, 25:4 (2016): 584-601
"Social Memory and Indian Women from Malaya and Singapore in the Rani of Jhansi Regiment," Journal of Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 88:2 (2015): 77-103
"Criminalizing Munniammah: Camouflaging Irresponsibility of Colonial Enterprise in Malaya", Indian Association of Asian Pacific Studies (2012): 425-435
"Tracing the Roots of Marginalization of Indians During the Colonial Period of Malaysia: Alienation of Bhumiputras from Bhumi by Chettiars", Indian History Congress (2011): 900-910
Selected Awards and Grants:
2022 North American Conference of British Studies, Stansky Book Award (for Fleeting Agencies)
2022 Western Association for Women Historians, Gita Chaudhuri Book Prize Award (for Fleeting Agencies)
2021 National Women's Studies Association, Sarah A. Whaley Book Prize Award (for Fleeting Agencies)
Article Awards and Recognitions:
2022 Coordinating Council of Women in History, Carol Gold Article Award (for Responses to Traveling Indian Ayahs in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Britain)
2020 Journal of Victorian Culture, Editor's Choice Article (for Knocker Ups: A Social History of Waking up in Victorian Britain's Industrial Towns)
Awards, and Honors for Research and Service
2022 Idaho State University Outstanding Researcher for 2021-2022
2021 Woman of Influence in Education Award, East Idaho Women of Influence Awards, 2021
2021 Elected Fellow, Royal Historical Society of UK (since September 2021)
2017 Don Provencher Award, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore Board, Association for Asian Studies, 2017 (for my paper presented at the conference)
2023 Idaho State University Research and Creative Activity Grant
2022 Idaho State University Course Release Grant
2022 Idaho State University Travel Grant
2022 Idaho State University Cultural Events Grant
(for organizing lecture Series "Revolutions and Resistance in Spring 2023)
2021 Idaho State University Course Release Grant
2021 Idaho State University Travel Grant
2021 Idaho Humanities Council Grant (sponsored by National Endowment for the Humanities)
2020 Idaho State University Travel Grant
2017 Asia Research Fieldwork/Archive Grant, NUS, March 2017
2017 NUS, Academic Event/Conference Grant, July 2016 (for convening an international conference on Asian History)
2016 Asia Research Fieldwork/ Archive Grant, NUS
"Curry tales of the Empire," https://jvc.oup.com/2021/05/27/curry-tales-of-the-empire/ Journal of Victorian Culture Online (online platform of the Journal of Victorian Culture), May 2021.
"Women in the business of waking up industrial Britain," http://jvc.oup.com/2020/06/12/waking-up-industrial-britain/ Journal of Victorian Culture Online (online platform of the Journal of Victorian Culture), 12 June 2020.
"Shampoo Empire," https://www.historytoday.com/archive/feature/shampoo-empire History Today, Vol. 70, Issue 3, March 2020.
"Punkhawallahs: Keeping British India Cool," https://www.historytoday.com/archive/feature/keeping-india-cool History Today, Volume 69, Issue 9, September 2019.
"South Asians in Britain: Sake Deen Mohamad and introduction of Shampoo in Britain," https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p09xcyhg BBC4 Radio, You're Dead to Me (aired 1 October 2021).
"Fleeting Agencies," https://newbooksnetwork.com/fleeting-agencies New Books Network Podcast in India Ocean World, 27 March 2021
Consumption Politics: Coolies and Empire in Malaya (manuscript in preparation)
Intimacies in Empire (manuscript in preparation)