Douglas Peers

Professor; Dean of Arts


Douglas PeersThe question that initially inspired my graduate work in history is how the British managed between 1750 and 1850 to gain political and economic control in much of India yet almost lose it between 1857 and 1858. I have also been taken up with the challenge of explaining the paradox between a domestic political economy in Britain that was  increasingly oriented to the principles and ideologies of liberal capitalism and the unfolding conservative and autocratic characteristics of colonial rule in India. In seeking answers to these questions, my work has often focused on tracing how and why military influences penetrated imperial structures, cultures and ideologies. 


  • B.A. (Hon) Political Science, History minor, University of Calgary, 1982
  • M.A. History, University of Calgary, 1984
  • Ph.D. History, University of London (King's College), 1988

Research and teaching interests

  • British Empire
  • India since 1700
  • Britain since 1750
  • Transnational/global history
  • Historiography 

Key areas of graduate supervision

British Imperialism, especially the history and historiography of colonial rule in 18th and 19th century South Asia

Current projects

I am currently working on three distinct yet related projects which address aspects of the relationship between the military and state formation, consolidation and commemoration in mid-19th century India.

  • The Siege of Lucknow: Histories, Memories, and Myth-Making
  • Discipline and Publish: Military Law and Labour Management in a Hybrid Army, 1820-1860
  • Medical Topography, Military Imperatives and Colonial Authority in India, 1830-1850

Douglas Peers CV 2018 (PDF)

Recent publi​cations

  • “The blind, brutal, British public’s bestial thirst for blood”: Archive, Memory and W.H. Russell’s (Re)Making of the Indian Mutiny,” in Gavin Rand and Kaushik Roy, Renewing the Military History of South Asia, London: Routledge, in press
  • Douglas M Peers and Nandini Gooptu, eds, India and the British Empire. The Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012
  • (co-editor with Nandini Gooptu), India and the British Empire: the Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series, Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press (October 2012)
  •  “The Colonial State,” in Nandini Gooptu and Douglas M Peers, eds, India and the British Empire: the Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series, Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press (October 2012)
  • “Innovation and Adaptation: Military Transformations in the Armies of Mir Qasim of Bengal and Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan of Mysore”, in Kaushik Roy and Peter Lorge, eds,Warfare and Society in China and India: a Comparative Analysis, New York: Routledge, in preparation (2012)
  • “Army Discipline, Military Cultures, and State Formation in Colonial India, ca.1780-1860”, in Huw Bowen, Elizabeth Mancke, and John Reid, eds., Britain’s Oceanic Empire: Atlantic and Indian Ocean World, c.1550-1850, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, in press (2012)
  • “Introduction”, in Nandini Gooptu and Douglas M. Peers, eds., India and the British Empire: the Oxford History of the British Empire, Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press [refereed] 
  • “Military Revolutions and South Asia,” in Wayne E. Lee, ed., Imperial-Indigenous Military Relations in the Early Modern Era¸ New York: NYU Press, 2011
  • “The more this foul case is stirred, the more offensive it becomes’: Imperial Authority, Victorian Sentimentality and the Court Martial of Colonel Crawley, 1862-1864”, in Sameetah Agha and Elizabeth Kolsky, eds., Fringes of Empire: Peoples, Places, and Spaces at the Margins of British Colonial India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009, 207-35.
  • “Martial Races and South Asian Military Culture in the Victorian Indian Army,” in Daniel Marston and Chandar Sundaram, eds., A Military History of Modern India, Westport: Praeger Security International, 2007. 34-52 [refereed]
  •  “He has a Jolly Way of Looking at Disasters”: Palmerston and India in the Mid-19thCentury,” in Miles Taylor, ed., Palmerston Studies, Southampton: Hartley, 2007.  ii, p.119-43
  •  “Gunpowder Empires and the Garrison State:  Modernity, Hybridity and the Political Economy of Colonial India, ca.1750-1860”, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 27(2007): 245-258 [refereed]
  • “Conquest Narratives: Romanticism, Orientalism and Intertextuality in the Indian Writings of Sir Walter Scott and Robert Orme,” in Michael Franklin, ed., Romantic Representations of British India, London: Routledge, 2006. 238-259[refereed]
  • India Under Colonial Rule: 1700--1885, London: Longman, 2006
  • “The Raj’s Other Great Game: Policing the Sexual Frontiers of the Indian Army in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century,” in Anupama Rao and Stephen Pierce, eds., ed.,Discipline and the Other Body: Correction, Corporeality, Colonialism, Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2006. 115-50 [refereed]
  • “Britain and Empire,” in Chris Williams, ed. The Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth Century Britain, Oxford: Blackwell, 2004. 53-78 (revised edn 2006)
  • “Colonial Knowledge and the Military in India, 1780-1860,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 33(2005): 157-180 [refereed]
  • “Reading Empire, Chasing Tikka Masala: the Contested State of Imperial History,”Canadian Journal of History, 39(2004): 87-104
  • “South Asia”, in Jeremy Black, ed., War in European Society1815-1945, London: Routledge, 2003. 41-74
  • "'There is Nothing More Poetical than War': Romanticism, Orientalism, and Militarism in J.W. Kaye's Narratives of the Conquest of India." in Julie F. Codell, ed., Imperial Co-Histories: National Identities and the British and Colonial Press, Madison: Fairleigh-Dickinson University Press, 2003. 273-299 [refereed]
  • “Is Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again?: the Revival of Imperial History and the Oxford History of the British Empire, Journal of World History, 13(2002): 451-467 [refereed]
  • (co-editor with David Finkelstein), Negotiating India in the Nineteenth Century MediaLondon: Macmillan, 2000 
  • “Introduction” (with David Finkelstein) in David Finkelstein and Douglas M. Peers, eds.,Negotiating India in the Nineteenth Century Media, London: Macmillan, 2000. 1-22 
  • “Imperial Vice: Sex, Drink and the Health of British Troops in North Indian Cantonments, 1800-1858,” in David Killingray and David Omissi, eds., Guardians of Empire, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999. 25-52 [refereed]
  • (co-editor with Martin Moir and Lynn Zastoupil), J.S. Mill’s Encounter with India, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999 
  • “Privates Off Parade: Regimenting Sexuality in the Nineteenth-Century Indian Empire,”International History Review, 20(1998): 823-54 [refereed]
  • “British Imperialism and the Dynamics of Race, Gender and Class in the Long Nineteenth Century.” Radical History Review, 71(1998): 164-81 [refereed]
  • “Soldiers, Surgeons and the Campaigns to Combat Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Colonial India, 180 5-1860,” Medical History, 42(1998): 137-60 [refereed]
  • (editor), Warfare and Empire, a volume in the series, An Expanding World: the European Impact on World History, 1450-1800, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins and London: Variorum, 1997
  • “’Those Noble Exemplars of the True Military Tradition’; Constructions of the Indian Army in the Mid-Victorian Press,” Modern Asian Studies, 31(1997): 109-142 [refereed]
  • “Sepoys, Soldiers and the Lash: Race, Caste and Army Discipline in India, 1820-1850,”Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 23(1995): 211-247 [refereed]
  • Between Mars and Mammon: Colonial Armies and the Garrison State in India, 1819-1835, London: I.B. Tauris, 1995. 291pp.
  • “Soldiers, Scholars, and the Scottish Enlightenment: Militarism in Early Nineteenth-Century India,” International History Review, 16(1994): 441-65 [refereed]
  • “Torture, the Police and the Colonial State in Madras Presidency, 1816-1855.” Criminal Justice History, 12(1991): 29-56 [refereed]
  • “’The Habitual Nobility of Being’; British Officers and the Social Construction of the Bengal Army in the Early 19th Century.” Modern Asian Studies, 25(1991): 545-69  [refereed]
  • “Rediscovering India under the British.” International History Review, 12(1990): 545-62  [refereed]

Keynote addresses

  •  ‘The Durbar of 1877: a Collision of Classes and Cultures’, Art Gallery of Ontario, 19 January 2011 (part of the series accompanying the Maharaja Exhibition) Podcast available at
  • ‘Techniques and Strategies for Ensuring Quality in International Collaborations’, Council of Graduate Schools, Washington, December 2010
  • ‘International Collaborative Degree Programs: Ensuring Quality while Encouraging Innovation,” Conference of the Americas on International Education, Calgary, October 2010
  • ‘Measuring Quality in International and National Contexts: What are we measuring and why (and for whom)?’ Strategic Leaders Global Summit on Graduate Education, Brisbane, September 2010
  • Fostering Innovation and Collaboration while Meeting Quality Assurance Requirements’,Canada-China Graduate Studies Forum, Edmonton, August 2010
  • ‘Enhancing Pathways to and Through Graduate School,’ Plenary Address, Council of Graduate Schools Summer Workshop, Puerto Rico, July 2010
  • ‘Exploring Difference - Recruitment, Selection and Admission of Doctoral Candidates: the Canadian Perspective,’ International Dialogue on Education Berlin, April 2010
  • ‘Joint and Dual Programs: Reconciling North American Customs with International Opportunities,’ 2009 Strategic Leaders Global Summit¸ Council of Graduate Schools, San Francisco, December 2009
  • ‘Collective Bargaining for Post Docs and Graduate Assistants: Latest Developments’,Council of Graduate Schools, Annual Meeting, San Francisco, December 2009
  • ‘Partnerships in Graduate Education.’ AUCC/DFAIT Workshop, New Delhi, Dec 2009
  • ‘The Future of the Masters Degree: an Anglo-Canadian Perspective,’ Council of Graduate Schools, Summer Workshop, Quebec City, July 2009
  • ‘Beyond Academics: What about Professional Skills Training for Graduate Students’,Mapping the New Knowledges: Graduate Student and Faculty Research, Brock University, April 2008
  • Mentoring Faculty: Art, Science, Alchemy or Self-Abuse, Canadian Association of University Research Administrators, May 2006
  • Seeing Sepoys Like the State: Army Discipline and State Formation in Colonial India, ca.1780-1860, University of Delhi, February 2005
  • The Colonial State, The British Empire and India, St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, August 2004
  • Romancing the Empire: Scott and Scots in Empire, Scotland and Empire, University of Aberdeen, September 2003
  • Gunpowder Empires and the Garrison State: Military Fiscalism, Modernity and the Political Economy of a Hybrid Regime, Colonial India ca. 1750-1860, The British and Ottoman Empires Compared, Library of Congress, Washington, April 2003
  • Consistency and its Constraints: Scoring Grids and the Peer Review Process at SSHRC,Peer Review Workshop, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, May 2003
  • J.W. Kaye and Masculine Meanings of Imperialism, Locating the Victorians, Victoria and Albert Museum, July 2001

Professional affiliations

  • Dean of Arts, University of Waterloo, present
  • Vice-President, Development, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 2012-2015 (elected)
  • Member of the Editorial Board, International History Review, 2009-present
  • Member of the Board of Contributing Editors, Encyclopedia of War, Oxford and New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009-present
  • Member of the Quality Assurance Transition/Implementation Task Force, Ontario Council on Graduate Studies, 2008-Present
  • Member of the Working Group, Consortia Advancing Standards in Research Administration Information, 2008-Present
  • Member of the Editorial Advisory Board, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 2007-present
  • Council Member, Ontario Council on Graduate Studies, 2007-Present
  • Member of the GRE Board of Directors, Educational Testing Service, 2010-2014
  • Member of the Paul Birdsall Prize Committee, American Historical Association, 2009-2012
  • Member, Program Committee for the annual meetings, North American Conference on British Studies, 2009-2011
  • Member of the Editorial Committee for the series ‘Studies in Imperialism in Asia’, published by Orient Longman, 2001-2011
  • Past-President, Canadian Association for Graduate Studies, 2011
  • Member of the Blue Ribbon Panel Preparing the CFHSS Submission to the Federal R&D Review, 2011
  • President (elected), Canadian Association for Graduate Studies, 2010
  • Advisory Committee for Maharajas, Art Gallery of Ontario, 2010
  • Vice-President (Humanities), Management Board, Aid to Scholarly Publications Program, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 2004-2007, 2007-2010
  • Vice-President (elected), Canadian Association for Graduate Studies. 2009
  • Council Member, Canadian Historical Association, 2006-2009 (elected)  
  • Member, Sub-Committee on Academic Journals, SSHRC, 2006-2008
  • Council Member, North American Conference on British Studies, 2006-2008 (elected)
  • Member, Research Support Committee, SSHRC, 2002-2004, 2005-2008
  • Member, Wallace Ferguson Prize Committee, Canadian Historical Association, 2005-2008
  • Member, Working Committee on Open Access, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 2006-2007
  • Member, Aid to Small Universities Program Adjudication Committee, SSHRC, 2005-2007
  • Member of the Board of Directors, Alberta Gaming Research Institute, 2004-2007
  • Observer, Standard Research Grants Competition, SSHRC, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005
  • Secretary, Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, 2002-2005 (elected)
  • University of Calgary Representative to the Board of Directors, Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, 1996-2005
  • Member, Sub-Committee on Creative and Fine Arts, SSHRC, 2001-2004
  • Chair, Committee 2, Aid to Research and Transfer Journals Competition, SSHRC, 2001-2004
  • Member, Publications Committee, Aid to Scholarly Publications Program, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 2000-2003
  • Member, Working Committee on Final Reports, SSHRC, 2002
  • Chair, Committee 2 (History and History of Science), Standard Research Grants, SSHRC, 1998-1999, 1999-2000
  • Jurist, Aid to Scholarly Publications Book Prize Committee, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 1999
  • Member, Committee 2 (History and History of Science), Standard Research Grants, SSHRC, 1996-1997, 1997-1998

Award​s and acheivements

  • Faculty of Social Sciences Distinguished Research Award, University of Calgary, 2001

  • Faculty of Social Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award, University of Calgary, 1999

  • Nominated for Students Union Teaching Award, University of Calgary, 1995 and 1997

  • Elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, 1991

University of Waterloo