Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Centre for
Asian and

Dr. Joanna Simonow

Assistant Professor / Student Advisor

Dr. Joanna Simonow              Mail:
Phone: +49 (0)6221 - 54 15252
Office hours: Mondays, 10-12 (appointment via email )
Room: 130.01.23

Curriculum Vitae

Research Statement

Joanna Simonow is a historian of modern South Asia and joins the Department of History as Assistant Professor/Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin. Prior to joining the SAI, Joanna was Postdoc Research Fellow in the Kaete Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21) at the University of Duisburg-Essen (2020-2021), and a Swiss National Science Foundation Fellow in the Department of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna (2021).

She received her PhD from ETH Zurich in 2019. Her doctoral thesis After the Late Victorian Holocausts has dealt with the regional and transnational history of famine relief, nutritional development and food aid in late colonial and early postcolonial India. Her forthcoming book is under contract with Leiden University Press. Her current research project The Private in the Political: White Women, Interracial Intimacy, and the Global Pursuits of Indian Anticolonialism seeks to arrive at a nuanced understanding of the role of women, gender and sexuality in the global expansion of Indian anticolonialism. To this end, Joanna studies the complex personal, sexual and professional contacts that emerged from the encounter between ‘white’ women and Indian activists in Europe, the United States, Soviet Russia and South Asia in the 1910s to the 1940s.

Relevant Publications:

  • 2023: Ending Famine in India. A Transnational History of Food Aid and Development, ca. 1890-1950 (Leiden University Press, 2023).

  • 2022: “American Humanitarianism in Colonial South Asia: The Famine Relief of the American Marathi Mission in Bombay, 1896–1900” in Harald Fischer-Tiné and Nico Slate (eds), The United States and South Asia from the Age of Empire to Decolonization: A History of Entanglements (Leiden University Press, 2022), 85-106.

  • 2021: “Der Hungertod in Bildern. Fotografien in der öffentlichen Debatte um Hungerhilfe für Bengalen 1943“, Zeithistorische Forschungen/Studies in Contemporary History , Online-Ausgabe, 21 (2021), H. 2 (Welt – Hunger – Hilfe).

  • 2021: "Famine relief in colonial South Asia, 1858–1947: Regional and global perspectives” in Maria Framke and Harald Fischer-Tiné (eds), Routledge Handbook of the History of Colonialism in South Asia (Routledge, 2021), 497-509.

  • 2021: "The Rise and Demise of Multi-Purpose Food in India: Food Technology, Population Control and Nutritional Development in the Post-War Era, c. 1944–66," South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 44,1 (2021), 167-84.

  • 2020: "The Great Bengal Famine in Britain: Metropolitan Campaigning for Food Relief and the End of Empire, 1943–44." The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 48,1 (2020), 168-197.

  • 2017: "Bengal, 1943-44: Famine Relief in Times of War." Online Atlas on the History of Humanitarianism and Human Rights. IEG Mainz.

Teaching activities

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