Postponed | Politics, Diplomacy and International History seminar: Dr Jayita Sarkar

Dr Sarkar (University of Glasgow) presents a paper entitled 'Ploughshares and Swords: India’s Nuclear Program in the Global Cold War'.

Please note: this event has been postponed. The new date is to be confirmed.

This seminar draws on Dr Sarkar’s recent book, which is published by Cornell University Press (2022). India's nuclear program is often misunderstood as an inward-looking endeavour of secretive technocrats. In Ploughshares and Swords, Jayita Sarkar challenges this received wisdom, narrating a global story of India's nuclear program during its first forty years.

The book foregrounds the program's civilian and military features by probing its close relationship with the space program to show how India's leaders concurrently served the technopolitical aims of economic modernity and the geopolitical goals of deterring adversaries.

The politically savvy, transnationally connected scientists and engineers who steered the program obtained technologies, materials, and information through a variety of state and nonstate actors from Europe and North America, including both superpowers.

They thus manoeuvred around Cold War politics and the choke points of the non-proliferation regime.

Hyper-diversification increased choices for the leaders of the nuclear program but reduced democratic accountability at home. The nuclear program became a consensus-enforcing device in the name of the nation.

Ploughshares and Swords is a provocative new history with global implications. It shows how geopolitical and technopolitical visions influence decisions about the nation after decolonization.

About the speaker

Dr Jayita Sarkar is Senior Lecturer in Global History of Inequalities at the University of Glasgow's School of Social and Political Sciences.

She is the author of ‘Ploughshares and Swords: India’s Nuclear Program in the Global Cold War’ (Cornell University Press, 2022), which received the 2023 Honourable Mention for Global Development Studies Book Award from the International Studies Association.

Her research and teaching areas are global and transnational histories of decolonisation, capitalism, nuclear infrastructures, South Asia and the United States.

She is currently writing two monographs: ‘Atomic Capitalism. A Global History’ (under contract with Princeton University Press, America in the World series) and ‘Partitions: A Global History of Territoriality.’