Professor Andrea Major

Professor Andrea Major


Having received a PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh in 2004, I held ESRC Post-Doctoral and Leverhulme Early Career fellowships before joining the School of History at the University of Leeds in September 2009. The subject of my postgraduate work reflect ongoing interests in issues of gender and empire in India, and my doctoral thesis looked at European reactions to sati (widow-burning) and how they changed as colonialism emerged and developed between 1500 and 1860. 


  • Head of School

Research interests

Recent research projects have focused on the relationship between the British anti-slavery movement and imperial expansion and exploitation in India, exploring how the campaign against slavery in the west helped shape ideas about empire in the east. I’m interested both in various abolitionists’ personal, financial and political connections to the subcontinent, as well as how their perceptions of Indian conditions were informed by, and functioned within, wider debates about slavery, poverty, and ‘free’ labour. In doing so, it seeks to move beyond dichotomous interpretations of the East and West Indies by placing debates about slavery and debates about India in the same analytical frame. I am currently working on a series of publications relating to these themes, including a monograph on the anti-slavery activist George Thompson's involvement in East Indian reform, and articles exploring British debates about indentured labour and the impact of colonialism in India.

I have given a radio interview on the subject of sati, appeared on 'The Big Questions' discussing empire, and carried out consultancy work for the National Library of Scotland on sources on early colonial India. I have also appeared on the BBC documentaries, 'Birth of Empire' and 'History's Biggest Fibs' discussing the East India Company, and the Channel News Asia documentary on Sir Stamford Raffles.  I welcome the opportunity to discuss my research interests and am happy to answer questions on any area of my research and teaching.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in History
  • MSc by Research in History
  • MA (hons) in History

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the HEA
  • Fellow of the RHS
  • Executive Council Member of BASAS

Student education

I run various modules at Undergraduate and MA level relating to the relationship between Britain and India in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, gender and social issues in India, and debates about empire in Britain.

I regularly supervise PhD students on topics relating to all relevant aspects of British colonial and South Asian history, and welcome enquiries relating to my research interests.  

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>