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Prakash Kumar

Prakash Kumar

Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies

407 Weaver
Office Phone: (814) 863-4923


I am a historian of Modern South Asia with broad interests in agrarian history, history of development, and in modernization. My first book, Indigo Plantations and Science in Colonial India (Cambridge University Press, 2012) explored the connection of colonial Bengal plantations with the world in the domain of science and knowledge flows. I am currently writing a book on the place of American modernization  in the history of development in India in the twentieth century, and have another book under contract with Indiana University Press on contemporary movements in India that oppose the entry of GMOs. 

Recent Publications:

“Decolonizing Science in Asia,” Verge, 4, No. 1 (2018): 24-43. (co-author)

“Roundtable: New Narratives of the Green Revolution,” Agricultural History, 91 No. 3 (Summer 2017): 397-422. (co-author)

"Plantation Indigo and Synthetic Indigo: Redefinition of a Colonial Commodity," Comparative Studies in Society and History 58: 2 (April 2016): 407-31.

“GENEALOGIES – Connecting Spaces in Historical Studies of the Global,” in Hilary Kahn (ed.), Framing the Global: Entry Points for Research, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014, pp, 97-111.

“Transnational Knowledge and Colonial Indigo Plantations in South Asia,” Modern Asian Studies, 48 No. 3 (2014): 720-53.

Indigo Plantations and Science in Colonial India, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

“Plantation Science: Improving Natural Indigo in Colonial India, 1860-1913,” Winning entry, Special Commendation, Singer Prize, British Journal for the History of Science, 40: 4 (December, 2007): 537-565.

“Scientific Experiments in British India: Indigo Planters, Scientists, and the State, 1890-1930,” in Indian Economic and Social History Review, 38:3 (June-September, 2001): 249-270.

Awards and Service
German Historical Institute Fellow  2018-2019
Scholars Award, National Science Foundation  2017-18
Humanities without Walls Grant, University of Illinois  2014
Framing the Global Fellowship, Indiana University  2011-2015
Scholars Award, National Science Foundation  2008-09

Research Interests:

Fellow, “Framing the Global Project,” Center for the Study of Global Change, Indiana University, 2011-2018

Areas of Specialization:

South Asia: