Anubha Anushree awarded SHC Career Launch Fellowship

Anubha Anushree, PhD candidate in the Department of History, is awarded the inaugural Stanford Humanities Center Career Launch Fellowship.

In April 2021, the Stanford Humanities Center established the Career Launch Fellowship program to support Stanford graduate students in year 7 or above whose work demonstrates the highest distinction and the promise of future achievement. The fellowships are intended to serve as a bridge between the end of the university's formal support and the transition to a postdoctoral fellowship or a faculty position.

. Learn more about the fellowship here .

About Anushree's Dissertation

While studies of the British Empire and its parallel European colonies have focused on questions surrounding imperial ideologies and mentalities, we know very little about what the Empire proscribed, censored, and thus, wrote out of their political credo. My dissertation, “The Moral Empire: Corruption in Colonial and Postcolonial India,” examines the vicissitudes of the term ‘corruption’ in nineteenth and twentieth century South Asia to understand how it was repurposed to produce colonial and postcolonial moral authority. I trace how the British presented corruption as a provisional and anomalous deviance due to the extraordinary circumstances of colonialism. Against this backdrop, I argue that postcolonial India reformulated corruption as a problem inherent to the logic of necessary modernization.

Exploring the imperial and later, the independent state of India through episodes of dysfunction and misconduct, I demonstrate how ideas about corruption and its regulation were constituted by political and historical compulsions. Predicated on changing perceptions of colonial governmental efficiency and biological distinction, this study presents corruption as historically nebulous and ambiguous.

Departing from state-centered perspectives, my work also examines how corruption was negotiated and challenged by common citizens of the subcontinent. My non-traditional archives include multilingual audio-visual narratives from early and mid-twentieth century India. Drawing from these sources, my research shows how the Indian challenge to governmental corruption modelled a revolutionary moral vision that identified the continuities between colonial bureaucracy and the bourgeois nationalist elite.

Treating corruption as generated by a set of locally specific social practices as well as sustained by long-term arrangements of elite networks of race, caste, and class, my study anticipates how corruption has been mobilized in recent Indian history—and, indeed in most other parts of the world—to make nationalist claims for purification and purging.