Ian Barrow

Professor of History

South Asia, World History, East India Company

 work(802) 443-2554
 Spring 2018: Mondays 10:30 am - 12:30 pm and Tuesdays 11:00 am - 12:00 pm, 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

More Information »

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 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2018

More Information »

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

More Information »

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 SOA

Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Fall 2017

More Information »

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 2014, Spring 2018

More Information »

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 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

More Information »

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 2015, Fall 2016

More Information »

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.

Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

More Information »

IGST 0707 - SAS Senior Thesis      

South Asian Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

More Information »

INTD 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
Approval Required

Winter 2017, Winter 2018

More Information »

Program in International and Global Studies

Robert A. Jones '59 House
148 Hillcrest Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753