Research Blog


This section includes short essays which include information about archives and research experiences.


Information about Archives


Archives of Modern Managerialism
Kena Wani (Duke University)
My work follows a series of techno-social experiments, institutions, and philanthropic endeavours taking place during the decolonization of the Gujarat region....... »»

Arkib Negara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
Wilbert W. W. Wong (Australian National University)
Although the Arkib Negara Malaysia hold collections across different state branches, most of the archival materials can be found in the Kuala Lumpur branch....... »»

British Library
Tiraana Bains (Dartmouth College)
While researching the engagement of the East India Company with practices of slave trading and slavery in and across its territories in the East Indies, I was particularly struck by the records of the Company’s settlement in Bencoolen..... »»

Currency and Coinage Archives
Sukhalata Sen (Jawaharlal Nehru Univerisity)
The archives of economic history in India are scattered and one often has to go scouting in search of some material. The material in the archives of Reserve Bank of India, at Calcutta and the National Archives are in good condition .... »»

Delhi State Archives
Anjali Bharadwaj-Datta (University of Cambridge)
Located on the fringe of the city in the Qutub Institutional area, though easily connected by public transport is the Delhi State Archives...... »»

Godrej Archives, Mumbai, India
Chinmay Tumbe (Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad)
A visit to the Godrej Archives in Mumbai’s Vikhroli suburb is a must for scholars of the business and economic history of modern India....... »»

Gokhale Institute
Sharmin Khodaiji (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
The current library of the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics was established in 1905...... »»

Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Allahabad
Aakriti Mandhwani (Shiv Nadar University)
Along with the Nagari Pracharini Sabha, Hindi Sahitya Sammelan became a significant player in the spread of Hindi language and literature from the moment that it was founded in Allahabad (in present-day Uttar Pradesh) in 1910....... »»

Indentured Migration Archives
Louise Moschetta (University of Cambridge)
Establishing the history of Indian jewellery in Guyana is an almost incorporeal project regarding objects that have so much weight and value .... »»

Labour History Archives
Shivangi Jaiswal (Jawharlal Nehru University)
The archive for my work includes documents and data on Indian Labour preserved at different archives and libraries in New Delhi/National Capital Region.... »»

Maharashtra State Archives
Niharika Yadav (Princeton University)
Situated in the heart of south Mumbai’s business district, the Maharashtra State Archives (MSA) are housed in one half of the city’s iconic Elphinstone College...... »»

Myanmar National Archives
Chao Ren (Tufts University)
In my research, I worked in the National Archives Department in Yangon, Myanmar, a less explored archive for the economic history of India..... »»

Nagari Pracharini Sabha (NPS)
Meghna Chaudhuri (Boston College)
The ubiquitous place that “the economy” has in contemporary understandings of social life is reflected in part, by the diversity of sources through which contemporary historiography seeks out economic life.... »»

The National Archives of Bangladesh
Manav Kapur (Princeton University)
The National Archives of Bangladesh (NAB), located in Agargaon, Dhaka, has a wealth of information of interest to researchers of colonial and post-colonial Bengal .... »»

The National Archives of Singapore, the National Library of Singapore, and the libraries of the National University of Singapore
Michael Sugarman (University of Bristol)
The National Archives of Singapore hold a wide range of sources about colonial and contemporary Singapore .... »»

The National Archives of Sri Lanka
Tamara Fernando (University of Cambridge)
In my research on the environmental and labour history of the pearl fishery in the Gulf of Mannar I rely heavily on material from the National Archives of Sri Lanka ..... »»

The National Documentation Wing, Pakistan
Amna Qayyum (Yale University) and Rohail Salman (George Washington University)
The National Documentation Wing (NDW) is the central archival repository of government records in Pakistan. It was formally established in 1974 as part of Pakistan’s Cabinet Division. Nestled in the foothills of the Margallas ..... »»

Perpustakaan Universitas Indonesia
Oliver Crawford (King's College London)
The library of the University of Indonesia (Universitas Indonesia, UI) holds a large collection of sources on the Indonesian economy during the interwar years....»»

Planning Archives
Nikhil Menon (Notre Dame University)
The first port of call for my project, on economic planning and state building in early independent India, were the archival mainstays of Lutyen’s Delhi—the National Archives of India (NAI) and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.... »»

Regional Archives of Allahabad, in the Days of Prayagraj
Sanjukta Poddar (University of Chicago)
In October 2018, midway through the course of my research on colonial-era Allahabad, the city's name was suddenly changed to Prayagraj through a fiat of the state government of Uttar Pradesh...... »»

Reserve Bank of India Archives
Aditya Balasubramanian (Australian National University)
The Archives of the Reserve Bank of India are a treasure trove for the history of economic life in South Asia...... »»

Shree Natnagar Shodh Samsthan / Raghubir Library and Research Institute
Benjamin Siegel (Boston University)
The octagonal powder blue building comprising the core of the Raghubir Library and Research Institute, known locally as the Shree Natnagar Shodh Samsthan, rises unexpectedly on a quiet street in the Indian town of Sitamau, Madhya Pradesh........ »»

Tamil Nadu State Archives
Aditya Ramesh (University of Manchester)
Located in a leafy sprawling complex in Egmore, opposite one of Chennai’s oldest railway stations, the Tamilnadu State Archives (TNA) serves as the most important repository of archival material for scholars working on south India...... »»

Tata Archives
Mircea Raianu (University of Maryland)
The relative paucity of dedicated business archives in India has often been a subject of lament among historians....... »»

Visakhapatnam Regional Office of the Andhra Pradesh State Archives
Emma Meyer
While conducting my research on historical migrations linking the Coastal Andhra region with Myanmar (colonial Burma), I spent many weeks poring over documents at the Visakhapatnam Regional Office of the Andhra Pradesh State Archives..... »»

Workers' Schooling Archives
Arun Kumar (University of Nottingham)
For my research on workers’ schooling in colonial India, I have used both official and non-official archives. In these archives, I have found material ranging from official correspondence, enquiries, reports, surveys, and books to letters of students.... »»

Za’ba Memorial Library, University of Malaya
Wilbert W. W. Wong (Australian National University)
Across the road from the University of Malaya Central Library, the Za’ba Memorial Library holds materials that relate to Zainal Abidin bin Ahmad........ »»


Research Experiences


Asking and Listening: Economic Histories Outside the Archives
Julia Stephens (Rutgers University)
I was only in Singapore for a few weeks in February 2017. To acquaint myself in an unfamiliar city for my new book project on diasporic Indian families, I had planned a packed schedule of archival research and meetings with the local heritage community and scholars at the National University of Singapore....... »»

Doing Legal Histories of Economic Life
Kalyani Ramnath (Harvard University)
My project is an attempt to reimagine political and economic geographies using a variety of unexplored legal materials...... »»

A Family Archive of Banking and Politics
Sudev J Sheth (University of Pennsylvania)
My research investigates connections between elite banking households, financial capital, and regional state formation in western India from c. 1650-1800..... »»

The Forgotten Archives of Malay Communism
Rachel Leow (Cambridge University)
As far as historical subjects go, the Tenth Regiment communists are like ghosts of ghosts. Established on 21 May 1949 in the jungles of Pahang on peninsular Malaya, the Tenth Regiment was the only Malay-majority regiment of the Malayan National Liberation Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) ....... »»

Fossil Fuel Archives
Matthew Shutzer (Harvard University)
My research investigates the changing place of nature, specifically fossil fuels, in the economic life of colonial and postcolonial South Asia....... »»

Gender and the Official Famine Archives
Madhavi Jha (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
Determined to write a labour history of 'most' women in the mid nineteenth century, I dove head first into the National Archives of India, New Delhi to look for any and every mention of women...... »»

Of Insects and Infrastructures: Researching the Ecologies of Economic Life in the Netherlands Indies
Anthony D. Medrano (Yale-NUS College)
In 1935, Raden Soesilo (1892-1943), an Amsterdam-trained epidemiologist, was on leave from his laboratory in Batavia. He was in Singapore, teaching a course on malariology at the King Edward VII College of Medicine...... »»

Parks and Annotation: Global Urban History and the Archive
Divya Subramanian (Columbia University)
What does it mean to write the history of Indian urban development from a reading room in London or New York? Archives have their own colonial histories.Like museums, their collections are artifacts of cross-cultural exchange, indelibly marked by power....... »»

Researching a Shan gem mining community in Cambodia
Natasha Pairaudeau (University of Cambridge)
The Pailin plateau nestles up against the Bao Patat (Cardamom) range of hills that straddle the Thai-Cambodian border. For nearly a century it was a gem mining centre run by migrant Shan prospectors and Burmese traders who first discovered rich sources of ruby and sapphire here in the 1870s....... »»

Tracking the History of Road Transport in India
Purbasha Das (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
My doctoral thesis shifts attention from the railways to other kinds of modern transport such as trams, cars and buses.It traces the interaction of these transport technologies and its viability in relation to older modes of road transport (bullock carts, palkis, tongas, hand drawn and cycle rickshaws) during the first six decades of the twentieth century....... »»