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Jessica Namakkal, Assistant Professor of the Practice and History

Jessica Namakkal

My research focuses on the global networks established through colonial conquest and the ways in which movements for decolonization have utilized, challenged, and/or transformed these networks. My first book project is a history of decolonization in 20th-century French India. I have researched and written about the colonial, decolonial, and postcolonial relationships between England, France, and India, paying particular attention to how the experiences of the people in the French colonies in India challenged the dominant narrative of Indian independence and the "end" of the colonial era. My manuscript in progress, Unsettling Utopia: Decolonization, Borders, and Mobility in 20th Century India, shows that the colonial borders the British and French constructed during their rule in South Asia were adopted and reinforced by the Indian state, subsuming many movements for post-colonial autonomy that emerged on the ground in French India.  The book also looks at questions of how decolonization has shaped modern life in Western Europe as well as in South Asia, through experiences of postcolonial migrations, colonial settlement, and utopian experiments aimed a global place-making. New research from my second project on race-mixing and diaspora in South Asia and Europe is forthcoming in the Journal of Women's History, Summer 2019. 

Contact Info:
Office Location:  Ics Program, 210-C East Duke Building, Durham, NC 27708-0405
Office Phone:  (919) 660-4353
Email Address: send me a message

Teaching (Spring 2021):

  • ICS 335S.01, DECOLONIZATION Synopsis
    Online ON, Tu 12:00 PM-02:30 PM
    (also cross-listed as GSF 335S.01, HISTORY 289S.01)
  • ICS 388S.01, GLOBAL SOUTH ASIA Synopsis
    Online ON, Th 12:00 PM-02:30 PM
    (also cross-listed as AMES 388S.01, GSF 288S.01, HISTORY 298S.01)
Office Hours:

Fall 2016

Tuesday 3 - 4:30

Education:

Ph.D.University of Minnesota, Twin Cities2012
PhDUniversity of Minnesota2013
BAUniversity of Southern California2001
Research Interests: South Asia, France, Empire, Migration, Global and Postcolonial History

My research focuses on the era, and theories, of decolonization in the 20th-century. I have researched and written about the colonial, decolonial, and postcolonial relationships between France and India, paying particular attention to how the experiences of the people in the French colonies in India challenge the dominant narrative of Indian independence and the "end" of the colonial era. I also work on the question of how decolonization has shaped modern life in Europe, through experiences of postcolonial migrations and global tourism. The manuscript I am currently working on seeks to expand understandings of decolonization from an isolated relationship between metropole and colony to a global context.

Recent Publications

  1. Bray, M; Namakkal, J; Riccò, G; Roubinek, E, Editors’ introduction, Radical History Review, vol. 2020 no. 138 (January, 2020), pp. 1-9 [doi]
  2. Namakkal, J, Decolonizing marriage and the family: The lives and letters of Ida, benoy, and Indira sarkar, Journal of Women'S History, vol. 31 no. 2 (January, 2019), pp. 124-147, Project Muse [doi]  [abs]
  3. Namakkal, J, The Terror of Decolonization: Exploring French India’s “Goonda Raj”, Interventions International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, vol. 19 no. 3 (April, 2017), pp. 338-357, Informa UK Limited [doi]  [abs]
  4. Namakkal, J, European dreams, Tamil land: Auroville and the paradox of a postcolonial Utopia, Journal of the Study of Radicalism, vol. 6 no. 1 (January, 2012), pp. 59-88, Johns Hopkins University Press [doi]


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