• Jayita Sarkar

    Historian & Author

  • Biography

    Jayita Sarkar is Senior Lecturer in Economic and Social History at the University of Glasgow. Before joining Glasgow, she was an Assistant Professor at Boston University, a Niehaus Fellow at Dartmouth College, Fellow at the Weatherhead Initiative in Global History, Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy, and Stanton Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University.


    Her research and teaching areas are global and transnational histories of decolonisation, capitalism, nuclear infrastructures, and South Asia. Her first book, Ploughshares and Swords. India’s Nuclear Program in the Global Cold War (Cornell University Press, 2022), received Honourable Mention for the 2023 Best Book Award from ISA's Global Development Studies Section.


    She is completing her second book, Atomic Capitalism. A Global History (under contract with Princeton University Press, America in the World series), which 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.


    Concurrently, she is conducting research for her new book-length project, Connected Partitions. From South Asia to the World. By focusing on stateless people, the book examines how the idea and practice of territorial divisions travelled from the South Asian subcontinent to the rest of the world through imperial statecraft and international organisations, such as the League of Nations and United Nations.


    She is also co-editing a volume, Partition Machine: Legacies of the 1920s in a Violent World with Laura Robson and Georgios Giannakopoulos for submission to the British Academy's book series published by Oxford University Press.


    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, where she lives with her partner, a cat, and a spaniel.

  • Book

    Ploughshares and Swords.

    India's Nuclear Program in the Global Cold War

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

    Cornell Open, $0.00, E-book


    Honourable Mention, 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.


    ESH 1A & 1B: Team-taught modules on global histories of inequalities, including empires, slavery, anticolonialism, development politics, and cold wars.





    ASSISTANT PROFESSOR of International Relations
    Boston University, Massachusetts, USA

    July 2017– June 2022


    Global South Asia. IR377
    Undergraduate elective
    History, Policy, & Statecraft. IR539
    Graduate and advanced undergraduate seminar
    International Nuclear Politics. IR315
    Undergraduate elective