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Prakash Kumar

Prakash Kumar

Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies

407 Weaver Building
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 863-4923


I am a specialist of South Asian History and History of Science.  My broad areas of interest are science, agriculture, environment, and knowledge. My recently published book (Indigo Plantations and Science in Colonial India) is a social history of indigo that illuminates the connections of South Asia with the wider world while covering the odyssey of indigo through the peasant and plantation phases. I am currently writing a history of agriculture and social movements focused on India in the colonial and postcolonial eras as part of two separate book projects.

Recent Publications:

“Decolonizing Science in Asia,” Verge, 4, No. 1 (2018): 24-43. (co-author)

“Roundtable: New Narratives of the Green Revolution,” Agricultural History, 91 No. 3 (Summer 2017): 397-422. (co-author)

"Plantation Indigo and Synthetic Indigo: Redefinition of a Colonial Commodity," Comparative Studies in Society and History 58: 2 (April 2016): 407-31.

“GENEALOGIES – Connecting Spaces in Historical Studies of the Global,” in Hilary Kahn (ed.), Framing the Global: Entry Points for Research, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014, pp, 97-111.

“Transnational Knowledge and Colonial Indigo Plantations in South Asia,” Modern Asian Studies, 48 No. 3 (2014): 720-53.

Indigo Plantations and Science in Colonial India, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

“Plantation Science: Improving Natural Indigo in Colonial India, 1860-1913,” Winning entry, Special Commendation, Singer Prize, British Journal for the History of Science, 40: 4 (December, 2007): 537-565.

“Scientific Experiments in British India: Indigo Planters, Scientists, and the State, 1890-1930,” in Indian Economic and Social History Review, 38:3 (June-September, 2001): 249-270.


Awards and Service:

German Historical Institute Fellow                                                           2018-19
Scholars Award, National Science Foundation                                         2017-18
Humanities without Walls Grant, University of Illinois                                2014
Framing the Global Fellowship, Indiana University                                    2011-2015
Scholars Award, National Science Foundation                                         2008-09

Research Interests:

Fellow, “Framing the Global Project,” Center for the Study of Global Change, Indiana University, 2011-2018

Research Interests:

South Asia:
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