Research interests: History of technology, twentieth-century history of South Asia, history of engineering, history of industrial enterprises in India, Indian business history
The Birth of an Indian Profession: Engineers, Industry, and the State, 1900-47 (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2017).
Reviewed in The Hindu, Economic & Political Weekly, H-Soz-Kult, The Book Review, Indian Economic & Social History Review.
- [With Neveen Abdelrehim, Andrew Smith, and Andrew Popp]. ‘Ambiguous Decolonisation: a postcolonial reading of the IHRM strategy of the Burmah Oil Company’, Business History, 63, 1 (2021): 98-126.
- ‘International Networks and Aircraft Manufacture in Colonial and Postcolonial India: States, Entrepreneurs and Educational Institutions, 1940-64’, Journal of Research Institute for the History of Global Arms Transfer, 9 (2020): 41-59.
- ‘The Emergence of Engineering as a Profession in Modern India’, Indian Journal of History of Science, 53, 4 (2018): T205-T210.
- ‘“Indigenous Knowledge” and “Science” in the Age of Globalization’, IIM Kozhikode Society & Management Review, 3, 1 (2014): 101-7.
- ‘La controverse du pont de Howrah: Expertise technique et enjeux sociaux et politiques en Inde à la fin de l’ère coloniale’ [Translated from the English by Christine Vivier] in Charles Gadea and Roland Lardinois (eds.), Les Mondes de l’ingénieur en Inde (XIXe-XXIe siècle) (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2022), pp. 75-97.
- ‘Review of Temples of Modernity: Nationalism, Hinduism, and Transhumanism in South Indian Science by Robert Geraci’, Technology and Culture 62, 1 (2021): 311-12.
- ‘Book review: Ross Bassett, The Technological Indian’, Studies in History, 34, 2 (2018): 212-215.
Selected Conference/ Workshop Presentations
- ‘Training the Technocratic Indian: Sir M. Visvesvaraya’s engagement with technical education policy, c. 1900-1950’, presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), Milan, Italy (2019).
- ‘Technocratic visions of craft and mechanisation: Sir M. Visvesvaraya’s plans for twentieth-century Mysore and India’. Workshop on ‘Craft and innovation in modern societies’, co-sponsored by the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), the Chinese Institute for the History of Natural Sciences (IHNS), and the China National Silk Museum (CNSM), Hangzhou, China (2018).
- ‘Engineering and technology in colonial India’. Conference on ‘The Emergence of Modern Science in Colonial India’ at the Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi (2018).
- ‘Who’s in Charge of the Howrah Bridge? Engineering expertise and the political economy of late-colonial India’. Conference on ‘Engineers and society in India, from c. 1850 to present times’, EHESS [School of Higher Studies in Social Sciences], Paris (2017).
- ‘From post-war reconstruction to nation-building: The evolution of technical education policy in India, 1938-56’, presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), Singapore (2016).
- ‘International networks and aircraft manufacture in late-colonial India: Hindustan Aircraft Limited, 1940-47’, presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), Albuquerque (2015).
- ‘Extra-Imperial Influences in Indian Industrialisation: The technical experts of the Tata steel works, c. 1900-40’, paper presented at the World Business History Conference, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany (2014).
- ‘Prospects for Business History Education in India’, presented at conference titled ‘Business History in Africa, Asia and Latin America: Integrating Course Development and New Research’, held at Harvard Business School (2014).
- ‘Industrial Experts in the Age of Indianisation: The European Engineering Firms of Calcutta, 1914-47’, presented at mid-term workshop of the ENGIND project (see above), Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities, New Delhi (2016).
- ‘Steel, Planes and Engineers: Indian Industry’s American Connection, c. 1920-50’, presented at workshop on ‘Texts, Instruments, Experts: Practices of knowledge-production in colonial South Asia’, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi (2014).
Invited Lectures/ Talks/ Seminars
- ‘A Brief History of an Aspirational Profession: Engineering in India’, International Women’s Association Endowment Lecture, Museum Theatre [Government Museum complex], Chennai (2018).
- ‘Race, Culture and the Ideal Engineer: The Public Works Department in India at the End of Empire’, presented at North Carolina State University (2015).
- ‘“British Integrity, Resource and Impartiality”: Indianisation and the Culture of Public Works Engineering, 1900-40’, presented at seminar on ‘Aspects of Science, Technology & Medicine in Colonial and Post-Colonial India’, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Madras (2015).
- ‘International networks and the birth of aircraft manufacture in India: Hindustan Aircraft Limited, c. 1940-55’, presented in the research seminar series, IIM Bangalore (2016).
- ‘Professional institutions and the emergence of an Indian identity among engineers, c. 1900-47’, presented in the research seminar series at IIM Calcutta (2014).
- ‘Provincialisation, Indianisation, and the Ideal Public Works Engineer, 1900-40’, presented at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali (2012).
Talks given to non-academic/professional audiences
- ‘Fasten Your Seatbelts: The birth of the aircraft manufacturing industry in India’, talk at Varahamihira Science Forum, Chennai (virtual) (2021).
- ‘Engineering in India: A Brief History of an Aspirational Profession’, Lecture on the occasion of Engineer’s Day at Godrej Archives, Godrej & Boyce Estate, Mumbai (2018).
- ‘Engineers, Technology and Industry in India: Perspectives from History’, delivered at ‘R&D Day’ of Shell Technology Centre, Bangalore (2014).
- ‘The Engineering Profession in India: A historical perspective’, delivered as part of the ‘Power Hour’ series at Ingersoll-Rand Engineering and Technology Centre, Bangalore (2013).
- Lunchtime Lecture on ‘“Bijli Sahib”: J.W. Meares and Electrical Engineering in India, 1896-1923’ at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), London (2010).
- Speech on ‘History and the engineer in modern Indian culture’, delivered as part of a panel discussion during the Asian Cultural Week, Goodenough College, London (2009).
Book Talks (on The Birth of an Indian Profession)
- At Madras Book Club, in conversation with R. Gopu (2018)
- At Nehru Centre, Mumbai, in conversation with Professor T. Jayaraman (2019)
- At Ahmedabad University, in conversation with Professor Devanath Tirupati and Professor Patrick French (2017)
- At Vikram Sarabhai Library, IIM Ahmedabad (2017)