Sheetal Chhabria (Ph.D. Columbia University) is a historian of South Asia with interests in the global histories of capitalism, urban studies, and the production of poverty and inequality. Her research has been funded by the Social Science Research Council, the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and the American Historical Association.
Broadly, her research and teaching challenge the comparative claims that have been made about colonial spaces and their legibility in discourses of modernization or development. Each of her courses foregrounds issues of power in crafting historical narratives across time and space.
Her first book, Making the Modern Slum: the Power of Capital in Colonial Bombay (University of Washington Press 2019, Global South Asia Series), shows how the wellbeing of the city–rather than of its people–became an increasingly urgent goal of government, positioning agrarian distress, famished migrants, and the laboring poor as threats to be contained or excluded. Other publications have analyzed the politics of indigeneity, colonial knowledge, and the production of the economy as social scientific fact.
Her current research entails analyzing the imbrications of caste and capital in the subcontinent’s long history and the failures of decolonization.
Prior to joining Connecticut College’s history department, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Historical Analysis at Rutgers University.
Samples of courses taught:
Contesting India’s Past
Globalization of Urban Poverty
Crafting Global Narratives
Racial Capitalism: A Global History
- Making the Modern Slum: The Power of Capital in Colonial Bombay (Univ. of Washington Press, 2019)
- "The Aboriginal Alibi: Governing Dispossession in Colonial Bombay," Comparative Studies in Society and History, October 2018.
- “Citing the City’s Poor: Commercial Sovereignty & Capitalist Integration in Colonial Karachi,” Journal of Urban History, 2018.
- “Capitalism in Muddy Waters: The Indian Ocean Economy in the 19th century” forthcoming, Journal of World History, 29, 3 & 4, October 2018.
- “Inequality in an Era of Convergence,” World History Connected, June 2016. (http://worldhistoryconnected.press.illinois.edu/13.2/chhabria.html)
- “Narendra Modi, Gender, and Governance,” in The Gendered Executive, Mary Anne Borelli & Janet Martin eds., Temple University Press, 2016.
- Review of Mumbai Fables: A History of an Enchanted City by Gyan Prakash, Journal of World History, December 2012.
- “Gujarat: Indian Imperialism on the Coast,” in The First Global Age, (1450 – 1770), World History Encyclopedia, by ABC – CLIO, February 2011.
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Fall 2014: Wed. & Fri., 12-1 p.m. and by appointment.