People sections

Letter from the Chair

Antoinette Burton

Professor of History
Professor of Gender and Women's Studies
Center for African Studies
Center for Global Studies
Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

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Contact Info

Areas of Specialization

Britain and the Empire, history of Women and Gender, and World history

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • Modern Britain and empire; colonial India; women, gender and feminism; postcolonial studies; world history

Research Description

  • I’m a historian of 19th and 20th century Britain and its empire, with a speciality in colonial India and an ongoing interest in Australasia and Africa. I’ve written on topics ranging from feminism and colonialism to the relationship of empire to the nation and the world. Women, gender and sexuality have always been central to my research, much of which has been concerned with the role of Indian women in the imperial and postcolonial imagination. I’ve edited collections about politics, mobility, postcolonialism and empire and have frequently collaborated with Tony Ballantyne (

    At Illinois I teach courses on modern British history and imperialism, gender and colonialism, autobiography and the archive, approaches and methods and world history. I am currently working on a comprehensive study of empire on the ground in the 19th century.

    My most recent publications are

    The First Anglo-Afghan Wars: A Reader (Duke, 2014)

    with Mary-Ann Winkelmes and Kyle Mays, An Illinois Sampler: Teaching and Research on the Prairie (Illinois, 2014)

    with Isabel Hofmeyr, Ten Books That Shaped the British Empire: Creating an Imperial Commons (Duke, 2014)


    The Trouble with Empire: Challenges to Modern British Imperialism (Oxford University Press, 2015)


  • B.A. Yale University, 1983
  • M.A. University of Chicago, 1984
  • Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1990

Distinctions / Awards

  • John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, 2010-11
  • Catherine C. and Bruce A. Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies, University of Illinois, 2004-
  • Sustainability Studies Initiative in the Humanities Fellowship, UIUC, 2011-12
  • University Scholar, University of Illinois, 2001-2004
  • William Evans Residential Fellowship, University of Otago (Dunedin, NZ), 2004
  • American Philosophical Society Research Fellowship, 1995
  • NEH summer seminar, “The Culture of London, 1850-1925,” Institute of Historical Research, London, 1995
  • American Council of Learned Societies Research Fellowship, 1993
  • Fulbright Scholar to the United Kingdom, 1987-88


  • Provost Initiative for Teaching Advancement, for "World Histories from Below" graduate student/teacher training project, 2011-12
  • Sustainability Studies Initiative in the Humanities for course development, "Wars against Nature in the British Empire, 1750-1950," 2011-12
  • NEH Humanities Focus Grant, "The Undergraduate History Core in a Global Age," co-written with Tony Ballantyne and Peter Fritzsche, 2001

External URLs



  • Empire in Question: Reading, Writing and Teaching British Imperialism. . Duke University Press, 2011.
  • The Postcolonial Careers of Santha Rama Rau . . Duke University Press, 2007.
  • Dwelling in the Archive: Women Writing House, Home and History in Late Colonial India. . Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • At the Heart of the Empire: Indians and the Colonial Encounter in Late Victorian Britain. . University of California Press, 1998.
  • Burdens of History: British Feminists, Indian Women and Imperial Culture, 1865-1915. . University of North Carolina Press, 1994.

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Book Contributions

  • "The Roots That Clutch’: Bodies, Sex and Race from 1750." The Routledge History of the Body and Sex in the West, 1500 to the Present. . Routledge, 2013.

  • "Connective Tissue: South Asians and the Making of Postcolonial Histories in Britain." India in Britain: South Asian Networks and Connections, 1858-1950. . Palgrave, 2012.

  • "The Body in/as World History." , A Companion to World History . . Wiley, 2012.

  • "“The Sodalities of Bandung: Toward a Critical 21st Century History"." Making a World After Empire: The Bandung Movement and its Political Afterlives . . Ed. Christopher J. Lee. Ohio University Press, 2011. 351-61.

  • "Salaam, Great Britain: Thinking through Resistance in an Age of Global Empire." Afterword. South Asian Resistances in Britain, 1858-1947. . 2011.

  • "Small Stories’ and the Promise of New Narratives." Preface. Contesting Archives: Finding Women in the Sources. . University of Illinois Press, 2010.

  • "The Sodalities of Bandung: Toward a Critical 21st Century History." Making a World After Empire: The Bandung Movement and its Political Afterlives. . Ohio State University Press, 2010.

  • "Getting Outside the Global: Re-Positioning British Imperialism in World History." Race, Nation and Empire: Making Histories, 1750 to the Present. . Manchester, 2010.

  • "“New Narratives of Imperial Politics in the 19th Century"." At Home with the Empire: Metropolitan Culture and the Imperial World . . Ed. Catherine Hall and Sonya Rose. Cambridge University Press, 2006. 212-29.

Edited Books

  • with Ballantyne, Tony. Moving Subjects: Gender, Mobility and Intimacy in an Age of Empire . . University of Illinois Press, 2008.

  • Archive Stories; Facts, Fictions and the Writing of History. . Duke University Press, 2005.

  • with Ballantyne, Tony. Bodies in Contact: Rethinking Colonial Encounters in World History . . Duke University Press, 2005.

  • with Loomba, Ania, Kaul Suvir, Esty Jed, and Bunzl Matti. Postcolonial Studies and Beyond . . Duke University Press, 2005.

  • After the Imperial Turn: Thinking with and through the Nation. . Duke University Press, 2003.

  • Janaki Majumdar's Family History. . Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003.

  • Politics and Empire in Victorian Britain: A Reader. . Palgrave, 2001.

  • Gender, Sexualities and Colonial Modernity. . Routledge, 1999.

Journal Articles

  • "Traveling Criticism? the Dynamic History of Indigenous Modernities." Journal of Cultural and Social History 9.4 (2012):
  • "Amitav Ghosh’s World History from Below." History of the Present: A Journal of Critical History 2.1 (2012):
  • "Victorian History: Some Experiments with Syllabi." Victorian Studies 54.2 (2012):
  • "“'Every Secret Thing?’ Racial Politics in Ansuyah R. Singh's Behold the Earth Mourns" ." Journal of Commonwealth Literature 46.1 (2011): 63-81.
  • "“The Pain of Racism in the Making of a ‘Coolie Doctor"." Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 13.2 (2011): 212-35.
  • with Allman, Jean. "Gender, Colonialism and Feminist Collaboration (part of “Teaching Radical History” section." Radical History Review 101 (2008): 198-222.
  • Burton, Antoinette. "Not Even Remotely Global? Method and Scale in World History." History Workshop Journal 64.1 (2007): 323-28.
  • "“The Ugly Americans: Gender, Geopolitics and the Career of Postcolonial Cosmopolitanism in the Novels of Santha Rama Rau"." Journal of Commonwealth Literature 41.2 (2006): 5-19.

Special Issues of a Journal

  • "“Other Criteria: History Writing as a Public Calling." Writing History for a Variety of Publics. Spec. iss. of Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques 38.2 (2012):
  • Booth, Marylin. “Critical Feminist Biography". Spec. iss. of Journal of Women's History 22.3-4 (2009):