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Durham University

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Dr Jonathan Saha

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Associate Professor (South Asian History) in the Department of History

Contact Dr Jonathan Saha (email at


My research focuses on the history of British imperialism in Myanmar (Burma) during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My first book, Law, Disorder and the Colonial State, looked at the history of corruption in the Ayeyarwady delta. I have also published on the history of imperial masculinity, crime, medicine, and colonial psychiatry---as well as an article on a murder that took place in London Zoo in the 1920s.

My second book Colonizing Animals: Interspecies Empire in Myanmar is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press, and examines the animal history of British colonialism in Myanmar. Through an "interspecies lens" it tackles the topics of commoditization, imperial ideologies, and anticolonial thought. 

I have just finished an Independent Social Research Foundation mid-career fellowship on the topic of "Accumulation and Empire". The project explored the utility of the conception of accumulation for better interrogating the imperial past.

I was educated at Healing Comprehensive School and Franklin Sixth Form College in Grimsby, before studing for my undergraduate degree in History and Politics at the University of Sheffield. I completed my Master's degree and PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies. Before coming to Durham I was an associate professor at the University of Leeds and lecturer at the University of Bristol.

Editorial Work

I am a member of the editorial collective of the radical history journal, the History Workshop Journal. I am also an editor for the Empire's Other Histories series published by Bloomsbury.


I have been a member of the Royal Historical Society's Race, Ethnicity and Equality Working Group since 2017, and was a co-author of the Group's 2018 report. Since 2019, I have co-chaired the Group with Dr Sadiah Qureshi.

I am a member of the Social History Society BME Historians Network, and a member of the University of Durham's BAME Network. I also sit on the panel for the Joint BME Events and Activities Small Grants.

Research Groups

Department of History

Research Interests

  • Animal History
  • British India
  • Colonial Myanmar
  • History of Medicine
  • Imperial Masculinities
  • Legal History
  • Postcolonial Theory

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

Journal Article

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