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Nicholas Abbott
Old Dominion University Research Foundation (Norfolk, VA 23508-0369)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2020 – 7/31/2020

Sarkars into State: Language, Family and Politics in Early Colonial India

Research and writing leading to a book on how dynastic conflict in India fueled British colonial expansion in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

My book project examines how new ideas of statehood and sovereignty emerged in eighteenth-century India; how they became critical tools for contesting gendered claims to power and property in Indian ruling families; and how they laid conceptual foundations for the British colonial state. Using understudied Persian chronicles and archival documents, my research shows how changing conceptions of statehood not only allowed male rulers to assert greater control over rival households (sarkars) and to divest female relatives of property and authority, but also helped naturalize the increasingly hegemonic British East India Company as a paramount Indian state. In so doing, the book reveals how dynastic conflict fueled colonial expansion in India and how modern notions of statehood and sovereignty abetted a global masculinization of public politics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.