Department of History

Department of History
Department of History

Ishita Pande 


Associate Professor
Chair of Graduate Studies
Co-Convener, Global History Initiative

Areas of Specialization:
Colonial and Postcolonial India, British Empire, Postcolonial Theory and Global History; Race, Gender and Sexuality; History of Science and Medicine; History of Childhood, Youth and “Age


Phone: 613-533-6000, ext: 74373
Fax: 613-533-6298
Office: Watson Hall 223
Office Hours:  (Zoom drop in): Monday 2.30-4.30 pm and by appointment.



Ph.D., Princeton University, New Jersey (2005)
M.A., Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi (1999)
B.A., St. Stephen's College, Delhi (1997)


Ishita Pande is a historian of post/colonial South Asia and the British Empire. Her first book, Medicine, Race and Liberalism in British Bengal: Symptoms of Empire (London: Routledge, 2010; paperback 2012). The book uses medical texts as an archive to tell the story of the impact of the colonial connection on race science in Britain, the strange compatibility of race science and imperial liberalism, and the crucial role of race in practices of colonial governance, as well as in nationalist arguments for self-government, in colonial India.

Her recent book, Sex, Law and the Politics of Age: Child Marriage in India, 1891-1937 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2020) is a dual biography of a path-breaking law regulating child marriages that was passed in India in 1929, and of “age” itself as a scientific object created at the nexus of forensic technologies, bureaucratic practices, sexual morality, liberal jurisprudence, social scientific inquiry, and various forms of political activism. She continues to use feminist, postcolonial and queer theory to unsettle categories of analysis in two new projects. The first is a history of the “sexual sciences” in twentieth century India, and the second a history of “age” in the British imperial world. Both examine the relationship between the intimate and the global as categories of thought.

She welcomes students working on all aspects of colonial and postcolonial history in India or projects informed by critical theory focused on other parts of the British Empire. She is particularly interested in supervising projects that focus on the various subjects that animate her own work – the history of power and knowledge (including the history of law, science and medicine), and the history of gender and sexuality (including the history of childhood and youth).

Courses Taught:

HIST 200: India and the World
HIST 241: Science and Sexuality: A Global History, 1880-1950
HIST 310. Modern India: Colonialism, Modernity, Postcolonialism
HIST 330: Global Gender History: Debates and Methods
HIST 414: Colonial India: The State, Knowledge and Power
HIST 446: Gender and Sexuality in South Asia
HIST 447: Race, Sex and the History of Medicine
HIST 447: (Revised) A Global History of Sexology
HIST 809: Post/Colonialism (taught annually since 2009-10)
HIST 890: Britain and the Empire
HIST 901: Approaches to History

Principal fields for graduate supervision:

India in the eighteenth to twentieth centuries; British colonial history; critical global history; history of science and medicine; race, gender and sexuality, childhood studies; legal history.



2020. Sex, Law and the Politics of Age: Child Marriage in India, 1891-1937 (Cambridge University Press, 2020).

2010. Medicine, Race and Liberalism in British Bengal: Symptoms of Empire (Routledge: London and New York). Paperback issued in 2012.

Recent Articles:

“Making Sex in Colonial India: Science, the Social and the Rule of Nature,” Introduction to special issue on the history of the sexual sciences in India, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies (Forthcoming, December 2020).

“Is the History of Childhood Ready for the World?” American Historical Review 125, 4 (Forthcoming, October 2020).

“Power, Knowledge, and the Epistemic Contract on Age: The Case of Colonial India,” in Forum: Age as a Category of Analysis, American Historical Review 125, 2 (Apr. 2020): 407-17.

“Vernacularizing Justice: Age of Consent and a Legal History of the British Empire,” Law and History Review, 38, 1 (Feb. 2020): 267-279.           

 “Time for Sex: The Education of Desire and the Conduct of Childhood in Global/Hindu Sexology,” in Veronika Fuechtner, Douglas Haynes and Ryan Jones (eds.), A Global History of Sexology (University of California Press, 2018), 279-302.

“Loving Like a Man: The Colourful Prophet, Conjugal Masculinity and the Politics of Hindu Sexology,” Gender and History 29, no. 3 (Nov. 2017): 675-92.

“Marriage and Minority: The Indian Nation, the Muslim Question and the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929,” in Kristin Celello and Hanan Kholoussy (eds.), Domestic Tensions, National Anxieties: Global Perspectives on Marriage Crisis (Oxford University Press, 2016), 67-88.

“Feeling Like a Child: Narratives of Development and the Indian Child/Wife,” in Stephanie Olsen (ed.), Childhood, Youth and Emotions in Modern History: Colonial, National and Global Perspectives (Palgrave, 2015), 35-55.

“Phulmoni’s Body: The Autopsy, the Inquest and the Humanitarian Narrative on Child-Rape in Late Colonial India,” South Asian History and Culture 4, no. 1 (Jan. 2013): 9-30.

“Sorting Boys and Men: Unlawful Intercourse, Boy Protection and the Child Marriage Restraint Act in Colonial India,” Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 6, no. 2 (Spring 2013): 314-40.

“Listen to the Child: Law, Sex and the Child Wife in Indian Historiography,” History Compass 11, no. 9 (Sept. 2013): 687-701.

“Coming of Age: Law, Sex and Childhood in Late Colonial India,” Gender and History 24, no.1 (Apr. 2012): 205-30. (Winner of the Society for the History of Childhood and Youth Best Article Award, 2013).