Angma Jhala

  • Professor, History
  • M.Div. Harvard Divinity School
  • DPhil Oxford University (Christ Church)
  • M.St. in History Oxford University (Christ Church)
  • AB Harvard University

Teaching Interests

Colonial and twentieth century South Asian history;
History of South Asian Religions;
Gender and Sexuality in South Asia;
Reading history through South Asian literature and film

Research Interests

Modern South Asia; Colonialism, law and politics in 19th and 20th century India; Histories of family, domesticity and sexuality; Courtly and royal aesthetics; South Asian religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam and Sikhism); studies of indigeneity; intellectual history and colonial forms of knowledge

Bio

My work focuses on modern South Asian history and religion, with a particular emphasis on politics, gender and material culture in nineteenth and twentieth century India. My first book, Courtly Indian Women in Late Imperial India (2008), addressed histories of women, law and politics in colonial and postcolonial India, reexamining ideas of female agency and governance in the princely states. My second book, Royal Patronage, Power and Aesthetics in Princely India (2011), examined histories of aesthetics, consumption and collecting by courtly women and their depiction in Hindi and Euro-American cinema.
My newest book, entitled An Endangered History: Indigeneity, Religion and Politics on the Borders of India, Bangladesh and Burma, recently published with Oxford University Press (2019), addresses histories of indigeneity and colonial systems of knowledge (botany, gender, enumerative statistics and anthropology), from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries. I have also been involved in histories of art as a consultant to the Museum of Fine Art Houston's 2018 exhibition on Indian royal art, which subsequently travelled to the Seattle Art Museum and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, and edited a collection of essays which accompanied the exhibition.

Awards and Honors

  • 2021, Aaron Jackson Award for Best Honors Faculty, Bentley University
  • 2019, Bentley Faculty Summer Grant, Bentley University
  • 2018, Faculty Summer Grant, Bentley University
  • 2017, FAC grant, Bentley University
  • 2016, Faculty Summer Research Grant, Bentley University
  • 2015, Visting Scholar, Harvard University, Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality department
  • 2014, Student Research Assistantship, Valente Center
  • 2013, Faculty Summer Research Grant, Bentley University
  • 2012, Student Research Assistantship, Valente Center
  • 2011, Bentley Summer Grant
  • 2010, 2010 - 2011 Valente Center Faculty Fellowship
  • 2010, Bentley Faculty Summer Grant
  • 2010, Dean's Fund for International Travel, Bentley University
  • 2009, Bentley Faculty Summer Grant, Bentley University
  • 2009, Bentley Publication Awards, Bentley University
  • 2006, OMS Summer Fellowship, Harvard Divinity School
  • 2005, Associate Member, Signet Society, Harvard University
  • 2005, Clarendon Fund, Oxford University, 2001 - 2005
  • 2004, Harvard Film Studies Fellowship
  • 2002, American Friends of Christ Church, Oxford Fellowship
  • 2002, Beit Fund, Oxford University, 2002 & 2003
  • Publications

    Journal Articles


  • Jhala, A. D. (2022). Dam(n)ing the Hills: Indigeneity, U.S. aid and Cold War Politics in the Kaptai Dam, East Pakistan, 1957-1964. Modern Asian Studies. Forthcoming.
  • Jhala, A. D. (2022). Farming and Eating in an Indigenous Asian Borderland: Histories of Botany, Agriculture and Food in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, East Bengal. Global Food History, (8) 1 34-55.
  • Jhala, A. D. (2019). The Indian Princely States and Their Rulers. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History.
  • Jhala, A. D. (2017). The scandalous case of the Rani of Lathi: female regency, princely politics and sexual impropriety in 1920s colonial India. South Asian Studies, (33) 2 149-164.
  • Jhala, A. D. (2015). 'Home and the World': Cosmopolitan, Transnational Identities of Courtly Indian Women in the Late Imperial Zenana. Modern Asian Studies, (Volume 49) Number 6 1704-1731.
  • Jhala, A. D. (2013). Daughters of the Hills: legacies of colonialism, nationalism and religious communalism in the Chakma Raj family, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bengal c. 1900 – 1972. South Asian History and Culture, (4) 1 107-125.
  • Jhala, A. D. (2011). Shifting the gaze: colonial and postcolonial portraits of the zenana in Hindi and Euro-American cinema. South Asian Popular Culture, (9) 3 259-271.
  • Jhala, A. D. (2010). The Jodhpur Regency: princely education, politics and gender in postcolonial India. South Asian History and Culture, (1) 3 378–396.
  • Jhala, A. D. (2009). The Malabar Hill Murder Trial of 1925: sovereignty, law and sexual politics in colonial princely India. The Indian Economic and Social History Review, (46) 3 373-400.

    Books


  • Jhala, A. D. (2019). An Endangered History: Indigeneity, Religion and Politics on the Borders of India, Burma and Bangladesh. Delhi: Oxford University Press
  • Jhala, A. D. (2018). Peacock in the Desert: the Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India. Houston: Museum of Fine Arts Houston/ Yale University Press
  • Jhala, A. D. (2011). Royal Patronage, Power and Aesthetics in Princely India. 250. London: Pickering and Chatto, Empire in Perspectives Series. Reprinted in paperback by Routledge in 2015
  • Jhala, A. D. (2008). Courtly Indian Women in Late Imperial India. 244. London: Pickering and Chatto Press. Reprinted in paperback by Routledge in 2015

  • Book Chapters


  • Jhala, A. D. (2018). Imperial Cosmopolitanism, Royal Patronage, and Zenana Courts In , (Eds.) Peacock in the Desert: the Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India. Houston: Museum of Fine Arts Houston/Yale University Press
  • Jhala, A. D. (2017). Introduction In , (Eds.) Genealogy, Archive, Image: Interpreting Dynastic History in western India, c.1090-2016. Berlin: De Gruyter Press
  • Jhala, A. D. (2017). Rani Jijima, Soldier, Statesman, Financier: a Rajput queen in mid-eighteenth century western India In , (Eds.) Genealogy, Archive, Image: Interpreting Dynastic History in western India, c.1090-2016. Berlin: De Gruyter Press
  • Jhala, A. D. (2012). Cosmopolitan Kitchens: Cooking for Princely Zenanas in Late Colonial India In Tulasi Srinivas, Krishnendu Ray, (Eds.) Curried Cultures: Globalization, Food and South Asia. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press
  • Jhala, A. D. (2011). From pardah to silver screen: representations of the Muslim courtesan in Hindi Cinema In , (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Women in Islamic Civilizations. Brill
  • Jhala, A. D. (2009). From Zenana to Cinema: The Impact of Royal Aesthetics on Bollywood Film In Moti Gokulsing, (Eds.) Popular Culture in a globalised India. New York: Routledge
  • Jhala, A. D. (2009). Made for Maharanis: Aesthetics of Courtly Women in Colonial Princely India In Maureen Goggin, Beth Tobin, (Eds.) Material Women, 1750- 1950: Consuming Desires and Consuming Objects. Farnham: Ashgate
  • Jhala, A. D. (2007). Memoirs of Maharanis: The Politics of Marriage, Companionship and Love in Late Colonial Princely India In Towheed, Shafquat, (Eds.) New Readings in the Literature of British India, c.1780-1947. Stuttgart: ibidem-Verlag
  • Jhala, A. D. (). Prince and ‘Primitive’: Chakma Raja Bhuvan Mohan Roy on the Crossroads of India, Burma and Britain In , (Eds.) Global Royal Families. Forthcoming.

  • Book Reviews


  • Jhala, A. D. (2015). [Review of the book Forgotten Friends: Monks, Marriages and Memories of Northeast India ]. South Asian History and Culture.
  • Jhala, A. D. (2015). [Review of the book Founding an Empire on India's North-Eastern Frontiers, 1790-1840: Climate, Commerce, Polity ]. South Asian History and Culture.
  • Jhala, A. D. (2012). [Review of the book Harem Histories: Envisioning Places and Living Spaces ]. Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History Review.
  • Jhala, A. D. (2006). [Review of the book Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World ]. The Journal of the American Oriental Society.
  • Jhala, A. D. (2006). [Review of the book Maharanis: The Lives and Times of Three Generations of Indian Princesse ]. Journal of the Oxford University History Society.
  • Jhala, A. D. (2004). [Review of the book Hindu Kingship and Polity in Precolonial India ]. Journal of the Oxford University History Society.
  • Jhala, A. D. (2004). [Review of the book Indian Princes and their States ]. Journal of the Oxford University History Society.

  • Conference Papers


  • Jhala, A. D. (2013). Buddhism: Reading the Marginalized History of the Indigenous Peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in BangladeshAlliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability, Columbia University, Historical Justice and Memory: Questions of Rights and Accountability in Contemporary Society Conference.

  • Other(s)


  • Jhala, A. D. (2018). Imperial Cosmopolitanism, Royal Patronage, and Zenana CourtsCrossroads: The Museum of Fine Arts Magazine. 11 5 – 11.
  • Presentations

  • Jhala, A. D. (2021). “Indian princes, Parliament and presidential power: the Concord of Princes (1967-71)” Presented at the Großbritannien-Zentrum/Centre for British Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin The British Aristocracy and the Modern World, 30th Anniversary Conference via Zoom
  • Jhala, A. D. (2019). “An Endangered History: Colonial Knowledge, Indigeneity and the India/Burma border” Presented at the Dartmouth College New England Association for Asian Studies conference
  • Jhala, A. D. (2017). “Colonial Archive of a Tribal Borderland: At the Crossroads of India, Bangladesh and Burma” Presented at the Boston College, 2017 New England Association for Asian Studies conference Boston, MA
  • Jhala, A. D. (2014). “How Changing Standards of Beauty Across Time and Culture Impact the Global Beauty Industry” Presented at the Women’s Center, Bentley University Invited Brown Bag Talk Waltham, MA
  • Jhala, A. D. (2013). “Buddhism: Reading the Marginalized History of the Indigenous Peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh” Presented at the Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability, Columbia University Historical Justice and Memory: Questions of Rights and Accountability in Contemporary Society Conference Columbia Law School
  • Jhala, A. D. (2013). “Cosmopolitan collecting: Material culture in the colonial Zenana” Presented at the Gender and History Gender, Imperialism and Global Exchanges Workshop Brown University, Rhode Island
  • Jhala, A. D. (2012). “Entering the Zenana: Histories of Architecture, Interior Design, and Fashion in the Indian Princely States, c. 1900-1947” Presented at theMaterial Cultures in the Space Between: The Fourteenth Annual Conference of the Space Between Society: Literature and Culture, 1914-1945 Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Jhala, A. D. (2011). “Royal Patronage, Religion and Aesthetics in Princely India: Zenana women as Collectors, Consumers and Patrons” Presented at the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School Hindu Studies Colloquium Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Jhala, A. D. (2011). “Material Culture in the colonial Zenana” Presented at the Valente Center, Bentley University Valente Center Fellows Talk
  • Jhala, A. D. (2010). “Cosmopolitan Collectors: Patronage and Consumption in the Zenan” Presented at the College at Brockport, State University of New York New York Conference on Asian Studies
  • Jhala, A. D. (2010). “‘Home and the World’: Cosmopolitan, Transnational Identities of Courtly Indian Women in the Zenana” Presented at the10th Annual Conference of the Global Studies Association: Globalization and International Relations Merton College, Oxford University
  • Jhala, A. D. (2010). “Indian princes and ideas of ‘Britishness:’ The influence of education and aesthetics on creating hybrid colonial identities” Presented at theImmigration and National Identity in British History- Europe, Empire and Commonwealth conference St. Anthony's College, Oxford University
  • Jhala, A. D. (2008). “The prince’s education: sovereignty, imperialism and nationalism in royal India” Presented at the Library of Congress and Johns Hopkins University Rajput Maharajas Conference Washington, DC
  • Service

    Department Service


  • Committee Member for American Business and Economic History Tenure Track Search Committee 2021 - 2022
  • Undergraduate Academic Programs Fair - 2019
  • Major/Minors Open House for Accepted Students - 2019
  • Panelist for “Religion and the Workplace” Panel for the Spiritual Life Center - 2018
  • Departmental Representative for Majors/Minors Fair for Prospective Students - 2018
  • Departmental Representative for Majors/Minors Open House for Accepted Students - 2018
  • Other for Majors/Minors Open House for Accepted Students - 2017
  • Departmental Representative for Majors/Minors Fair for Prospective Students - 2014
  • Departmental Representative for Major/Minors Fair 2012 - 2012
  • Departmental Representative for Major/Minors Open House - 2011
  • University Service


  • Committee Member for A&S Summer Working Group for TF4.0 2020 - 2021
  • Committee Member for Teaching and Scholarly Activities Committee 2018 - 2020
  • Committee Member for Bentley Research Council 2017 - 2020
  • Committee Member for Dean of Arts and Sciences Search Committee 2017 - 2018
  • Committee Member for Faculty Evaluation Procedures Committee 2016 - 2018
  • University Senate 2016 - 2018
  • Board Member for Valente Center 2014 - 2015
  • Senator for University Senate 2011 - 2015
  • Committee Member for Faculty Evaluation Procedures Committee 2011 - 2015
  • Committee Member for Research Committee 2010 - 2011
  • Professional Service


  • Editorial Review Board Member for South Asian History and Culture 2010 - Present
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for Food and Foodways 2020 - 2020
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for Gender and History 2020 - 2020
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for Modern Asian Studies 2020 - 2020
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for Gender & History 2019 - 2020
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for Modern Asian Studies 2018 - 2019
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History Review 2017 - 2017
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for Modern Asian Studies 2015 - 2016
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for Food and Foodways - 2015
  • Manuscript Reviewer for Gastronomica - 2014
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 2013 - 2013
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for Asian Ethnicity 2012 - 2012
  • Reviewer, Book for Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History Review 2012 - 2012
  • Reviewer, Book for Oxford University Press (Pakistan) 2012 - 2012
  • Reviewer, Book for I. B. Tauris Publishers 2011 - 2011
  • Examiner for an undergraduate senior honors thesis for US Naval Academy, Annapolis 2011 - 2011
  • Reviewer, Book for The Journal of the American Oriental Society 2006 - 2006