SHARMA, JAYEETA Contact Areas of Interest

Sharma, Jayeeta
Department for the Study of Religion
170 St George Street
Toronto, ON  M5R 2M8
  • Transnational circulation of people, commodities, and ideas across the Himalayas.
  • Encounters between missionaries, print modernity, mixed-race families, and local intermediaries on such Asian borderlands


Associate Professor Jayeeta Sharma has studied and taught history on three continents. After doing a BA, MA, and M Phil from the University of Delhi, she won a Commonwealth Scholarship for a PhD at Cambridge University. Subsequently, she was an Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Western Ontario, before moving to the University of Toronto. Her first book, Empire’s Garden (Duke, 2011) explores the intersections of colonial tea capitalism with identity contestations in modern and contemporary India. This work links the study of coolie labour, missionary and gentry-generated print culture, and internal migrations in South Asia to that of imperial commodities, cultural nationalism, and post-colonial politics of race, language, and ethnicity. She has published widely in journals and scholarly anthologies.

In her current research on the transnational Himalayas, Jayeeta studies mixed-race families, labour circulations, hill-station ideologies, print modernity, Anglo-Indian, Lepcha, Nepali, Tibetan communities, missionary and philanthropic networks across sites as diverse as Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand. This project is supported by a SSHRC Standard Research Grant and Connaught Grant.

In addition to her primary appointments at UTSC’s Historical and Cultural Studies and the tri-campus Department of History, Jayeeta is cross-appointed to the Department for the Study of Religion and is an affiliated member of the Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. She is an active member of the Editorial Collective of the journal Radical History Review. She is also the Program Co-Chair of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians to be held at Toronto in May 2014.

Primary Teaching

Undergraduate and graduate courses on

  • Histories of Asian Borderlands and Imperial Circulation
  • Transnational Childhoods, Gender, and Race
  • South Asian Foods and Global Migrations

Selected Publications


Empire’s Garden. Assam and the Making of India (2011, Duke University Press)


“Empires of Food” in Jeffrey Pilcher (ed.), Oxford Anthology of Food History (2012, OUP)

“Making Garden, Erasing Jungle: The Tea Enterprise in Colonial Assam,” in Deepak Kumar, Vinita Damodaran, and Rohan D’Souza (ed.), The British Empire and the Natural World: Environmental Encounters in South Asia (2011, OUP)

“‘Lazy’ Natives, Coolie Labour, and the Assam Tea Industry” (Modern Asian Studies, 2009).

“Assam’s Lachit, India’s Missile Man: History, Nation and Gender in India,” in Andrew Wyatt and John Zavos (ed.), The Politics of Cultural Mobilization in India (2004, OUP)

“‘Religion, Science and General Knowledge’: The Orunodoi Periodical of the American Baptist Missionaries in Assam,” in Robert Frykenberg (ed.), Christians and Missionaries in India (2002, RoutledgeCurzon)


  • Finalist for First Book Berkshire Award, 2012
  • SIG Research Grant, University of Toronto, 2011-13
  • SSHRC Standard Research Grant, 2010-14
  • Connaught New Faculty Award, University of Toronto, 2008-13
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Program in Agrarian Studies, Yale University, 2005-6
  • Berkman Faculty Development Grant, Pittsburgh, 2004-6
  • Falk Research Grant, 2003-5
  • Mountbatten Trust Award, London, 2002
  • Eric Stokes Award, 2001
  • Leche Trust Award, London, 2001
  • Commonwealth Scholarship, 1998-2002