"Extractive Ecologies: India and the Making of the Global Energy System, 1870 - 1970" examines the emergence of the global trade in energy commodities at the end of the nineteenth century and how the formation of modern fossil fuel-based economies transformed social relations, ideas of economic growth and human relations to the natural world in South Asia. My research follows connections between geological surveyors, mineral speculators, military expeditions, migrant laborers, urban planners, World Bank consultants, Indian scientists, small landholders, and flows of carbon fuels into and out from South Asia. In so doing, my dissertation demonstrates not only how energy commodities like coal and oil came to form globe-spanning supply chains, but also how the history of this material change provided the conditions for twentieth-century debates in South Asia on national development, international order, land reform, democratic state-building, and the ecological limits to economic growth. 'Extractive Ecologies' draws on a variety of Bengali and English archives in India and the United Kingdom and seeks to link environmental history with histories of both empire and capitalism.
Portions of this research have been presented at Harvard University, Presidency University, the Annual South Asia Conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the American Society for Environmental History's Annual Conference, Brown University, Duke University, the Environmental History Conference at Yale University, the Abu Dhabi Institute, the New School for Social Research, and New York University's South Asia Center.