Ian Barrow

Professor of History

South Asia, World History, East India Company

 work(802) 443-2554
 Fall 2019: Monday 10:30 AM-12:30 PM, Tuesday 9:00-10:00 or by appointment
 Axinn Center at Starr Library 339

Ian Barrow is a historian of South Asia. He has written three books, most recently a history of the East India Company. His previous work focused on colonial mapping in India and Sri Lanka. 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 received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago, his M.A. in history from the University of Virginia, and his B.A. in the college of letters from Wesleyan University. He has served as the history department chair, the director of the South Asian Studies program, and the director of the International Studies program. Among other projects, he is currently writing on “assassination museums” in South Asia, meaning museums and memorials that have been established to honor the memory of assassinated leaders.


The East India Company, 1600-1858: A Short History with Documents. Indianapolis and Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, 2017.

Surveying and Mapping in Colonial Sri Lanka, 1800-1900. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Making History, Drawing Territory: British Mapping in India, c. 1756-1905. New Delhi: 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 - Mahatma Gandhi: Myth & Reality      

Mahatma Gandhi: Myth and Reality
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948), known as the Mahatma or Great Soul, was both revered and despised. Lauded as the ‘Father’ of independent India, he was nevertheless blamed for its partition. Seen as the champion of Untouchables, he was distrusted by those he called the children of god. Characterizing himself as a Hindu reformer and an Indian nationalist, he was ultimately assassinated by a Hindu nationalist. Who was Gandhi and why was he opposed? In this seminar we will read primary and secondary sources to examine Gandhi’s ideas and actions, paying particular attention to the contradictions in his life. 3 hrs. sem. ) AAL CW HIS

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1518 - The 1970s Around the World      

The 1970s Around the World
This course will introduce students to some of the events, people, books, and trends that helped define the 1970s. We will begin in the US, with a discussion of the circumstances that led to President Nixon’s resignation. We will then move swiftly to examine developments elsewhere in the world: for example, the Iranian revolution; Indira Gandhi and the Indian Emergency; the feminist movement; life in the Soviet Union; left-wing terrorism; right-wing dictatorship; the Khmer Rouge, and the rise and (sad) fall of disco. Students will be assessed on their class participation, essays, and oral presentations. 3 hrs. sem. CW HIS

Fall 2018

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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 SOA

Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Fall 2018

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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 SOA

Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2019

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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) Pre-1800 3 hrs. sem. AAL HIS SOA

Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2019

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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 SOA

Spring 2018, Fall 2019

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HIST 0500 - Special Research Projects      

Special research projects may only be taken during the Junior or Senior year, preferable after taking HIST 0600. Approval of department chair and project advisor is required.

Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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HIST 0600 - History Research Seminar      

Writing History
In this course students discuss historical methods and writing strategies to create convincing historical narratives. With the approval and guidance of the professor, students complete a 20-25-page research paper based on primary and secondary sources. Students take this course in the fall of their junior year or with permission in the spring. If students are away for the entire junior year, they can take the course in the fall of their senior year. 3 hr. sem.

Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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HIST 0700 - Senior Independent Study      

Senior Independent Study
The optional History Senior Thesis is written over two terms, with the final grade applying to both terms. Approval is required. Students submit thesis proposals in the spring before the year that they choose to write their thesis. Students generally begin their thesis in the fall and complete it during winter or spring. Approval is required to begin the thesis in winter or spring. All students must attend the Thesis Writer's Workshops in fall and winter semesters and work with a faculty advisor to complete a 55-70 page paper. Please see detailed guidelines under history requirements.

Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020

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IGST 0707 - SAS Senior Thesis      

South Asian Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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INTD 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
Approval Required

Winter 2017, Winter 2018, Winter 2019, Winter 2020

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Program in International and Global Studies

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