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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 specialist of South Asian History and History of Science.  My broad areas of interest are science, agriculture, environment, and knowledge. My recently published book (Indigo Plantations and Science in Colonial India) is a social history of indigo that illuminates the connections of South Asia with the wider world while covering the odyssey of indigo through the peasant and plantation phases. I am currently writing a history of agriculture and social movements focused on India in the colonial and postcolonial eras as part of two separate book projects.

Recent Publications:

“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.

“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:

Mellon Foundation, Global Midwest Grant (Humanities without Walls), 2014
Research Fellowship, Robert J. Dole Archives, 2012
Scholar’s Award, National Science Foundation, 2008-11
University of Chicago Special Collections Fellowship, 2007-08
Dissertation Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2004

Research Interests:

Fellow, “Framing the Global Project,” Center for the Study of Global Change, Indiana University, 2011-2015