Sumathi Ramaswamy

Core Affiliated Faculty

Phone: (919) 684-2343
Location: B189, Bay 5, Smith Warehouse

A core faculty member of the BorderWork(s) Lab, Sumathi Ramaswamy is a cultural historian of South Asia and the British empire. Her research over the last few years has been largely in the areas of visual studies, the history of cartography, and gender (see her recent book The Goddess and the Nation: Mapping Mother India, published in 2010 by Duke University Press, and an edited volume from Routledge, also published in 2010, titled Barefoot across the Nation: Maqbool Fida Husain and the Idea of India.) Her work in popular visual history has also led her to co-establish Tasveerghar: A Digital Network of South Asian Popular Visual Culture at She is now pursuing a new research agenda on the cultures of learning in colonial and postcolonial India. In the first of the projects centered on this new research program titled "Global Itineraries: The Indian Travels of a Worldly Object," she explores the debates in colonial India about the shape and disposition of the earth in the universe and examine the course of science education. Another project titled "Giving and Learning: Philanthropy and Higher Education in Modern India," draws upon her experience as Program Officer for Education, Arts & Culture for the Ford Foundation in New Delhi (2002-2005). It charts the ethical and political impulses that governed new patterns of giving directed towards the establishment of colleges and universities across colonial India.