- “Divide and Rule? Separating Wheat from Chaff in Colonial South Asia”
This paper challenges the commonly held belief that divide-and-rule was a cornerstone of British colonial policy in India.
Presented at the CPW, April 2018, and at the Comparative Historical Social Science (CHSS) conference, May 2018.
- “The Great Revenue Debate: India, 1858-1869”
Colonial administrators’ normative commitments, and not the “facts on the ground,” determined the contours of agrarian institutions in Northern India, setting the stage for important political divergences in the 20th century.
To be presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Asian Studies (AAS), March 2019 and the University of Chicago’s Comparative Politics Workshop (CPW) , March 2019.
- “Collaboration and Resistance in Nationalist Times: The Causal Role of Imperial Magna Cartas”
Variation in agrarian policy across the provinces of colonial India helps explain why nationalist movements were able to mobilize rural populations in some regions while failing to do so in others.
To be presented at the annual meeting of the Social Science History Association (SSHA), November 2018. Presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA), August 2018, and at the annual meeting of Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries (CDB), September 2018.
- “‘Political Danger’ and Private Property: Colonial Land Management in 19th Century British India”
Why did the Punjab receive the strongest anti-laissez faire legislation of all the provinces of British India to combat rural indebtedness and foreclosure? This paper shows that provincial differences in 19th century colonial state-building had made easier for administrators in the Punjab to turn back the clock and re-embed the economy in social relations.
Presented at the annual meeting of CDB, September 2017, and at the University of Chicago’s Social Theory Workshop (STW), October 2017.
- “On the Determinants of Colonial Institutions: Evidence from the British Empire”
A shift in the colonial administrators’ perceptions of native society from assimilable to irredeemable best explains the shift from direct to indirect rule in the British Empire.
Presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), April 2017, and at the Program in International Security Policy (PISP) at the University of Chicago, January 2017.
- “Brown by Design: Elections as a Cause of Aborted State-Building”
The literature on postcolonial state-building has emphasized the inability of former colonies to build state capacity. This paper highlights unwillingness as another path to failed state-making and locates the cause in colonial-era elections.
Presented at the CPW, May 2016.