Michael Dodson

Academic Director



Michael S. Dodson is academic director of the IU India Office, director of the Dhar India Studies Program, and an associate professor of history at Indiana University Bloomington. He is a historian of northern India, focusing particularly upon the intellectual and cultural history of that region during the nineteenth century.

His first book, Orientalism, Empire, and National Culture: India 1770–1880 (2007), is a reinterpretation of Orientalism that conceptualizes colonial scholarly practices in northern India as highly localized, with links not only to the East India Company's governing authority, but also to the consolidation of the socio-cultural authority of Sanskrit pandits.

He is the editor of Banaras: Urban Forms and Cultural Histories (2012), a collection of essays and photographs on the recent history of that north Indian city, and co-editor, with Brian Hatcher, of Trans-colonial Modernities in South Asia (2012). He has also published widely in journals such as Modern Asian Studies, Comparative Studies in Society and History, and Modern Intellectual History.

He is currently writing A History of South Asia: Culture, Politics, Society, and Architecture 1000-2000 for Oxford University Press and a research monograph on urban landscapes and municipal governance in north India ca. 1880-1920.

He has worked extensively in the archives and libraries of India, and when he’s not in Bloomington or Delhi, he spends as much time as he can in the north Indian city of Varanasi.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to South Asian History and Civilization
  • Modern South Asia
  • Islam and Empire in South Asia
  • Britain and its Empire
  • World Cities
  • The British Empire in Asia and Africa
  • Introduction to the Professional Study of History
  • Postcolonial Theory and Historiography
  • The Cultural History of British Imperialism in South Asia