SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Aditya Ramesh

BA (Hons) University of Delhi; MA (History) SOAS
  • Teaching
  • Research


Staff Silhouette
Aditya Ramesh
Email address:
Thesis title:
Water technocracy: Dams, Public Works, and Development in Colonial South India
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


Aditya is a doctoral candidate in the history department. Trained in the history of modern South Asia and the British Empire, his research examines ideas and practices of river improvement, technocratic governance, and agrarian histories of colonial India. His doctoral dissertation, 'Water technocracy', studies the rise of the first multi-purpose river valley project in colonial India, on the river Cauvery in South India.


Peer Reviewed Articles

  • 2018 “Custom as Natural: Land, Water, and Law in Colonial Madras,” Studies in History (February 2018)

Review Essay

  • 2016 “Scientific Commodities, Imperial Dreams,” History and Philosophy of Science Part C 60 (December 2016): 88-91


  • 2017 Historical sociology and the making of the nineteenth century environment, Bielefeld Annual Seminar, Bielefeld Germany
  • 2017 Imperial debt and river improvement in British India, New Directions in the History of Imperial and Global Networks workshop, Exeter, University of Exeter
  • 2017 Organizer, Interrogating the Rural in South Asia: Ruptures and Continuities, Graduate Workshop Funded by the SOAS South Asia Institute & the Bloomsbury Development Studies Seminar, London
  • 2017 Geography as Agro-ecological History: The Tanjore Delta c. 1920-1950, Royal Geographical Society Mid-term Postgraduate Conference, Cardiff University, Cardiff
  • 2017 Damming the Cauvery: Technology and Hydro-Politics in Madras Presidency c. 1900-1930, British Society for the History of Science Graduate Conference, European University Institute, Florence
  • 2016 Flood as Disaster: Land and Water in an Expanding Chennai’, Workshop presentation, Cities and Disasters’, Institute of Historical Research, London
  • 2016 Public Works as Iconography: Aesthetic, Text, and Context in Colonial South India, Workshop presentation, Colonial and Postcolonial New Researchers Workshop, Institute of Historical Research, London
  • 2015 Planning the “Economy”: Development and Hydroelectricity in Colonial South India, Workshop presentation, ‘The History of Energy and the Environment’, Harvard University (History Project Workshop), Cambridge MA
  • 2015 Spaces of Capital, Forms of Energy: Development of Hydroelectricity in Late Colonial South India Invited talk, ‘South Asia History Seminar’, SOAS, London
  • 2015 Water as Power’: Resource, Energy Knowledge, and the Re- making of Agrarian Territory in Colonial South India International Conference ‘New Pathways in the History of Political Economy’, University of Cambridge, Cambridge


  • Economic History Society
  • European Society for South Asian Studies


  • H102 History of the world
  • Introduction to global history


  • Environmental history
  • History of technology
  • History of capitalism
  • Agrarian history
  • Commodities
  • Public health
  • British Empire
  • South and South East Asia
  • Historical geography