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Sunil Amrith    

Professor & Historian of South & Southeast Asia

Sunil Amrith is a historian exploring migration in South and Southeast Asia and its role in shaping present-day social and cultural dynamics. His focus on migration, rather than political forces such as colonial empires and the formation of modern nations, demonstrates that South Asia (primarily India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) and Southeast Asia (including Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore) are tied by centuries of movement of people and goods around and across the Bay of Bengal.

In Migration and Diaspora in Modern Asia (2011) and Crossing the Bay of Bengal (2013), Amrith combines the theoretical frameworks of oceanic and environmental history with archival, ethnographic, and visual research to chart how migration transformed individuals, families, and communities. Using narratives and records left by coastal traders, merchants, and migrants, he evokes the lives of ordinary Indians who made homes in new lands across the bay. Amrith's examination of the emergence of diverse, multiethnic coastal communities sheds new light on the social and political consequences of colonization.

His additional publications include Decolonizing International Health: India and Southeast Asia, 1930–65 (2006) and Sites of Asian Interaction: Ideas, Networks and Mobility (co-editor, 2014).

Currently, Amrith's focus of research is the on the history of environmental and climatic change in Asia.

Amrith received a B.A. (2000) and Ph.D. (2005) from the University of Cambridge. He was a research fellow of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge (2004–2006) and taught modern Asian history at Birkbeck College of the University of London (2006–2014) prior to joining the faculty of Harvard University, where he is currently Mehra Family Professor of South Asian Studies and a professor of history, and the director of the Harvard Center for History and Economics. In 2017, he was named as a MacArthur 'Genius Grant' Fellow.


Author, Immigration Advocate Among 2017 MacArthur Fellows ...

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, painter, Los Angeles. Sunil Amrith, historian, Cambridge , Massachusetts. Greg Asbed, human rights strategist, Immokalee, Florida.

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