• Jayita Sarkar





  • Biography

    Jayita Sarkar is Associate Professor of Economic & Social History at the University of Glasgow. Her research and teaching areas are connected partitions, global histories of capitalism, and nuclear infrastructures. She was an assistant professor at Boston University's Pardee School prior to her position at the University of Glasgow.


    Her first book, Ploughshares and Swords. India’s Nuclear Program in the Global Cold War (Cornell University Press, 2022) examines India’s nuclear and space programmes from the 1940s to the 1980s through the prisms of technopolitics and territoriality. It shows how the programmes served goals of economic modernity and geopolitics with consequences for democratic accountability.


    She is completing her second book, Atomic Capitalism. A Global History (under contract with Princeton University Press, America in the World series). The monograph explores the role of corporations and governments in land expropriation, labor exploitation, and debt generation from the 1890s to the 1990s through mining, explosions, and energy sites of nuclear infrastructures. She was a fellow at Harvard University's Weatherhead Initiative on Global History to make progress on Atomic Capitalism.


    Concurrently, she is conducting research for her next book, Connected Partitions. From South Asia to the World. It is a study of entangled social, economic, and political histories of partitions from the 1890s to the 1970s. By focusing on stateless people, the book traces the travel itinerary of the idea and practice of territorial divisions from the borderlands of South Asia to the world. She was a fellow at the University of Edinburgh's Institute for the Advanced Studies in the Humanities to advance on Connected Partitions.


    She is also co-editing a volume, Partition Machine: Legacies of the 1920s in a Violent World, for the British Academy (Oxford University Press), based on papers for the British Academy-funded conference, "Partition Machine" that she shall be convening at the University of Glasgow in August 2023.


    Born and raised in India, educated in France and Switzerland, she lived and worked in New England for nearly a decade before relocating to Edinburgh, Scotland. She lives in Marchmont with her partner, a cat called Gorky, and a dog named Godard.

  • Book

    Ploughshares and Swords.

    India's Nuclear Program in the Global Cold War

    Cornell University Press, July 2022, 300 pp. $24.95, paperback

    Cornell Open, $0.00, E-book


    Finalist for the 2023 ISA Global Development Studies Book Award

    India’s nuclear program is often misunderstood as an inward-looking endeavor of secretive technocrats. In Ploughshares and Swords, Jayita Sarkar challenges this received wisdom, narrating a global story of India’s nuclear program during its first forty years. The book foregrounds the program’s civilian and military features by probing its close relationship with the space program. Through nuclear and space technologies, India’s leaders served the technopolitical aims of economic modernity and the geopolitical goals of deterring adversaries.


    The politically savvy, transnationally-connected scientists and engineers who steered the program obtained technologies, materials, and information through a variety of state and nonstate actors from Europe and North America, including both superpowers. They thus maneuvered around Cold War politics and the chokepoints of the nonproliferation regime. Hyperdiversification increased choices for the leaders of the nuclear program but reduced democratic accountability at home. The nuclear program became a consensus-enforcing device in the name of the nation.


    Ploughshares and Swords is a provocative new history with global implications. It shows how geopolitical and technopolitical visions influence decisions about the nation after decolonization.


  • Teaching


    ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR of Economic & Social History

    University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK

    July 2022—present


    ESH4087: Global South Asia, Undergraduate Honours: Global and local entanglements in economic, social, and political spheres in the South Asian subcontinent since the 19th century to the present.


    ESH 5069: Decolonisation & International Economic Relations, Postgraduate Taught: Global histories of capitalism, empire, and decolonisation to study the sources of inequality in the modern world.





    ASSISTANT PROFESSOR of International Relations
    Boston University, Massachusetts, USA

    July 2017– June 2022


    Global South Asia. IR377

    Undergraduate elective

    Spring 2022 (21 students)

    Spring 2020 (29 students)

    Fall 2017 (5 students)


    History, Policy, & Statecraft. IR539

    Graduate and advanced undergraduate seminar

    Spring 2022 (20 students)

    Summer 2020 (17 students)


    International Nuclear Politics. IR315

    Undergraduate elective

    Fall 2021 (49 students)

    Summer 2021 (43 students)

    Spring 2020 (44 students)

    Fall 2018 (40 students)

    Spring 2018 (47 students)


  • Global Decolonisation


    The Global Decolonisation Initiative, founded and directed by Dr. Jayita Sarkar is a multidisciplinary research endeavor that brings together students and staff across the university to understand the ongoing processes of decolonization in the contemporary world.


    Hosted at Boston University from May 2020 until May 2022, the Initiative will be reconstituted as Decolonisation through Archives at the University of Glasgow in January 2023. Stay tuned for launch information by joining the mailing list and following on Twitter.