Crossing the Threshold of Empire: From ship to shore in colonial Madras
I am broadly interested in the impact of locally-developed technologies on the day-to-day administration of the British Empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with a specific focus on boats used to cross littoral zones. My thesis specifically examines the spatial and technological development of the port of Madras between 1750 and 1890. Local masula boats and boatmen were the sole facilitators of contact between ship and shore from the foundation of Madras as an English East India Company port in 1639 through the successful construction of harbour facilities in the late nineteenth century. The project aims to highlight the usefulness of the 'littoral' as a distinct space of historical inquiry while reshaping understandings of the role of technology in the development and maintenance of the British Empire.
I graduated summa cum laude with a BA in history and anthropology from the University of Rhode Island in 2014, and as a Marshall scholar obtained an MA in Maritime Archaeology from the University of Southampton (2016) and an MA in European History from University College London (2017). I am a member of the Oceangate Titanic Expedition Scientific team and a member of the joint URI-Israel Antiquities Authority Caesarea Harbour Excavation Project team. For the 2021-22 academic year I held a Beit scholarship in Imperial and Commonwealth history and co-convened the Transnational and Global History seminar.
Supervisor: Dr Erica Charters