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Dr Callie Wilkinson



Academic Profile

  • 2018-2021: Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of Warwick
  • 2013-2018: PhD, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge
  • 2012-2013: MPhil, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge
  • 2008-2012: BA, McGill University


I am a historian of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British empire, with a particular focus on the East India Company. During this age of revolutions, amidst the turmoil of global war, a trading corporation known as the East India Company established varying degrees of control over large swathes of the Indian subcontinent through treaty-making and military conquest. Against the backdrop of these seismic developments, my research focuses on the relationship between individual lives and historical change, exposing the complex reasons why individuals engaged in complicity, denial, and resistance when faced with emerging systems of domination.

In contrast to the overwhelming focus on direct rule within the historiography of the East India Company, my PhD dissertation refocused attention on the many Indian kingdoms which, though nominally independent, became bound to the Company between 1798 and 1818 by unequal alliances whereby their sovereignty was circumscribed. Rather than treating indirect rule as a pragmatic solution to the burden of direct rule, this thesis illustrated how different forms of imperial influence were conceptualized and debated within the Company; how these ideas were imperfectly translated into practice; and how Indians resisted, exploited, or abetted the EIC's presence. This research is currently being revised as a monograph.

My current, Leverhulme-funded project, Secrecy and Transparency in the East India Company 1784-1834, analyses disputes surrounding the dissemination of information about the East India Company's overseas activities. Previously, historians tried to gauge popular attitudes to imperial expansion by analysing representations of empire in Britain, particularly in the press. This project focuses instead on the executive powers, ideological frameworks, and individual acts of dissent which determined what kind of information about empire was released into the public domain in the first place.


Journal Articles
Callie Wilkinson, ‘Weak Ties in a Tangled Web? Relationships between the Political Residents of the
English East India Company and their Munshis, 1798-1818’, Modern Asian Studies 53, no. 5

Callie Wilkinson, ‘The East India College Debate and the Fashioning of Imperial Officials, 1806-
1857’, The Historical Journal 60, no. 4 (2017).

Book Chapters
Callie Wilkinson, ‘Script, Print, and the Public/Private Divide: Sir David Ochterlony’s Dying Words’,
in Pen and Print: Communication in the Enlightenment, eds. Caroline Archer and Malcolm
Dick (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2019).

Callie Wilkinson, ‘The History of Violence and the British Empire in India’, Revue d’histoire du XIXe siècle 56, no. 1 (2018).