Michael S. Dodson

Associate Professor, Department of History

Director, Dhar India Studies Program

Academic Director, IU India Gateway Office, New Delhi

Department of History

IU; IU Bloomington

Full Biography

Michael S. Dodson is a historian of South Asia, focusing particularly upon the intellectual and cultural history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with a special interest in urbanism and architecture. He is currently finishing a monograph on the urban history of northern India that focusses on the transformation of cityscapes under local municipal governance ca. 1880-1920. He is also working on a visual history of New Delhi in the 1960s and '70s as well as a general history of South Asia for Oxford University Press.

Dodson's first book, Orientalism, Empire, and National Culture: India 1770-1880 (2007), is a reinterpretation of Orientalism that conceptualizes colonial scholarly practices in northern India as highly localized, with links not only to the East India Company's governing authority, but also to the social consolidation of scholarly "middle men," the Sanskrit pandits.

He has edited a book of essays and photographs entitled Banaras: Urban Forms and Cultural Histories (2012), and co-edited with Brian Hatcher Trans-Colonial Modernities in South Asia (2013).  He has written for journals such as Modern Asian StudiesComparative Studies in Society and HistoryModern Intellectual History, as well as for the Indian popular press.

Research Interests

  • Modern South Asia
  • Architecture and urbanism
  • Megacities and contemporary urban aesthetics
  • British imperialism in South Asia
  • Intellectual history


  • Ph.D. at University of Cambridge, 2003

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to South Asian History and Civilization
  • Modern South Asia
  • Islam and Empire in South Asia
  • Britain and its Empire
  • World Cities
  • World Architecture
  • Introduction to the Professional Study of History
  • Postcolonial Theory and Historiography