Jonathan Saha Committee Member, 2020-2023
Jonathan specialises in the history of nineteenth and twentieth-century colonialism in Southeast Asia, focusing particularly on British Burma. His research to-date has been into the history of corruption within the colonial state, exploring how the state was experienced and imagined in everyday life. He argues that corruption contributed to the maintenance of British rule and perpetuated racial divisions and gender ideologies.
As well as corruption, he has published on crime, medicine and ‘madness’ in colonial Burma. He has been particularly interested in how state medicine was entangled with discourses of race and gender. More recently he has commenced a new project – funded by two grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council – on the history of animals, particularly the ways in which they shaped, and were shaped by, the colonisation of Burma.
For a number of years now, Jonathan has been actively involved in equality and inclusion work, especially around gender inequality. He co-organised a symposium on postcolonial education, which brought academics and community activists together to discuss race and pedagogy, and a workshop for Black and Minority Ethnic Historians to discuss problems of racism and under-representation in the discipline. He is keen to see the Social History Society fostering greater diversity and equality within the historical profession.
- ‘Murder at London Zoo: Late Colonial Sympathy in Interwar Britain’ in the American Historical Review (2016)
- ‘Among the Beasts of Burma: Animals and the Politics of Colonial Sensibilities, c.1840-1950’ in the Journal of Social History (2015)
- Law, Disorder and the Colonial State: Corruption in Burma, c.1900 (2013)
- ‘Madness and the Making of a Colonial Order in Burma’ in Modern Asian Studies (2013)
- ‘A Mockery of Justice? Colonial Law, the Everyday State, and Village Politics in the Burma Delta, c.1890-1910’ in Past & Present (2012)