Ian Barrow

Professor of History

South Asia, World History, East India Company

  On leave 2014-2015 academic year

Ian Barrow has taught in the history department at Middlebury since 1998. He was born in Switzerland, grew up in England and then attended Wesleyan University (B.A.), the University of Virginia (M.A.), and the University of Chicago (Ph.D.). He teaches on South Asian history, imperialism, the East India Company and world history. He is currently writing a book on assassinations in South Asia, with a focus on the museums and memorials that have been established in honor of Mahatma Gandhi (died 1948), SWRD Bandaranaike (1959), Mujibur Rahman (1975), Ziaur Rahman (1981), Indira Gandhi (1984) and Rajiv Gandhi (1991). He is also researching the Indian coins of the East India Company that were minted between the 1750s and the 1850s. His two books, Surveying and Mapping in Colonial India and Making History, Drawing Territory: British Mapping in India, c. 1756-1905 were published by Oxford University Press in 2008 and 2003, respectively. He has won grants from the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation, the Fulbright Scholar program, the American Institute of Indian Studies, the American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies, the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies, the Social Science Research Council and the J. B. Harley Research Fellowship program. He has served as the history department chair, the director of South Asian Studies program, and the director of Middlebury's International Studies program.


Surveying and Mapping in Colonial Sri Lanka, 1800-1900, (Oxford University Press, 2008).

Making History, Drawing Territory: British Mapping in India, c. 1756-1905, (Oxford University Press, 2003).

Selected Articles:

Finding the Nation in Assassination: The Death of SWRD Bandaranaike and the Assertion of a Sinhalese Sri Lankan Identity,’ The Historian, Vol. 76, Issue 4, Winter 2014, 784-802.

'The many meanings of the Black Hole of Calcutta,' in Tall Tales and True: India, Historiography and British Imperial Imaginings, ed. by Kate Brittlebank, (Monash University Press, 2008) 7-18.

'The Colonial Transition: South Asia, 1780-1840,' co-written with Douglas E. Haynes, Modern Asian Studies (38:3, 2004), 469-478.

'India for the Working Classes: The Maps of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge,' Modern Asian Studies (38:3, 2004), 677-702.

'Surveying in Ceylon during the Nineteenth Century,' Imago Mundi (55, 2003) 81-96.

'From Hindustan to India: Naming Change in Changing Names,' South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies (XXVI, 2003) 37-49.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1440 - FYSE 1440      


Fall 2015

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HIST 0110 - Modern South Asia      

Modern South Asia
This course is an introduction to the history of South Asia. We will examine such events as the remarkable rise and fall of the Mughal empire (1526-1700s), the transformation of the once-humble English East India Company into a formidable colonial state (1700s-1858), the emergence of nationalist and anti-imperialist movements led by people such as Mahatma Gandhi and M.A. Jinnah (1858-1947), and the establishment and recent histories of the new nations of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Readings will include primary sources, history textbooks, historical novels, and newspaper articles. We will also watch at least one historical film. Pre-1800. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL HIS

Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014

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HIST 0240 - History of Pakistan      

History of Pakistan
This course is a political and cultural history of Pakistan. Topics to be discussed include: the pre-independence demand for Pakistan; the partitioning of India in 1947; literary and cultural traditions; the power of the army in politics; the civil war that created Bangladesh; the wars with India; the wars in Afghanistan; the rise of Islamist parties and militant groups; the significance of the Taliban and al Qaeda; and Pakistan's relations with the US, China and India. Readings will include histories, autobiographies, novels, and newspaper and magazine accounts. Several documentary films will also be shown. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL HIS

Fall 2012, Fall 2013

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HIST 0369 - East India Company      

The East India Company
In this course you will be introduced to the English East India Company, from the 17th-century until its dissolution in 1858. Much of our focus will be on the Company’s presence in India, and we will pay particular attention to its transformation from a maritime trading company into a territorial colonial state. We will read a number of controversial texts from the period, immerse ourselves in the worlds of Company and Indian politics, and do guided research using holdings in Middlebury’s Special Collections. Topics will include the rise of the Company as a trading concern, its aggressive competition with other European trading monopolies and South Asian kingdoms, and the importance of opium in its dealings with China. We will end with a discussion of the Indian rebellion of 1857. (Not open to students who have taken FYSE 1308 or HIST 1009) AAL HIS

Spring 2012, Fall 2013

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HIST 0427 - Diaspora & Trans-nationalism      

Diaspora and Trans-nationalism
In this course we will explore the global flow of people across national boundaries in the modern era. During the first part of the course we will examine the major theoretical frameworks of transnational migration and diasporas by reading the works of writers such as Hannah Arendt, Edward Said, and W. E. B. Dubois. We will focus on the social and cultural processes that pose challenges to the traditional hegemony of the nation-state, and examine the political and economic relations of diaspora communities to homeland. In the second half of the course we will study how organic intellectuals, performers, and other artists from all across the Atlantic world agitated to transform the social dynamics within the political, linguistic, and geographical boundaries of their new home while re-imagining new relations with the place they once called home. Students will choose a research topic on a diaspora community of their interest and be required to make direct contact with the communities we study. 3 hrs. sem. (formerly HIST 0413) AAL CMP HIS

Fall 2011

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HIST 0429 - Gandhi      

This course will focus on the works and actions of Mahatma Gandhi. At one level, the readings will provide an introduction to the philosophy and life of one of the most significant, influential, and well-known figures of the 20th century. At another level, the course will discuss in detail the major themes and occurrences in modern Indian history, tracing the rise and ultimate victory of the Indian nationalist movement. The class will read a variety of texts, including books written by Gandhi, tracts published by his political and religious opponents, social commentaries, contemporary novels, and engaging histories. (formerly HIST 0414)3 hrs. sem AAL HIS

Fall 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014

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HIST 0500 - Special Research Projects      

Special research projects during the junior year may be used to fulfill the research seminar requirements in some cases. Approval of department chair and project advisor is required.

Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2015

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HIST 0600 - History Research Seminar      

History Research Seminar
All history majors who have not taken a writing and research seminar are required to take HIST 0600 in their junior fall or, if abroad at that time, their senior fall semester. In this course, students will conceive, research, and write a work of history based on primary source material to the degree possible. After reading and discussion on historical methods and research strategies, students will pursue a paper topic as approved by the course professors. HIST 0600 is also open to International Studies and Environmental Studies majors with a disciplinary focus in history. 3 hr. sem

Fall 2012, Fall 2015

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HIST 0700 - Senior Independent Study      

The History Senior Thesis is required of all majors. It is written over two terms, with the final grade applying to both terms. The project is generally begun in the fall and completed during winter or spring. Approval is required to begin the thesis in winter or spring, and such students must still attend the Thesis Writer's Workshops that take place in fall and winter.

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2015

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Department of History

Axinn Center at Starr Library
14 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753