Nisha Mary Mathew
Dr. Nisha Mathew is a historian and social scientist whose research focuses on the illicit economies of gold smuggling, money laundering and counterfeiting in the post-imperial Indian Ocean region. She received her PhD in History from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in 2014, following which she worked as a Research Fellow with the Asia Research Institute and Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore. Besides academic publications, she has also authored articles in The Straits Times, South China Morning Post and The Wire. She is currently co-editing a volume on Cities in the Third World and is also working on an article exploring the impact of transnational crime on sovereign governments and critical infrastructures.Nisha Mathew is a historian and social scientist whose research focuses on the illicit economies of gold smuggling, money laundering and counterfeiting in the post-imperial Indian Ocean region. She received her PhD in History from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in 2014, following which she worked as a Research Fellow with the Asia Research Institute and Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore. Besides academic publications in top tier international journals, she has also authored newspaper articles and opinion pieces in The Straits Times, South China Morning Post and The Wire. She is currently co-editing a volume on Cities in the Third World and is also working on an article exploring the impact of transnational crime on sovereign governments and critical infrastructures.
- Ph.D, History, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (2014)
- PG Diploma in Cultural Studies, Centre for the Study of Culture and Society (CSCS), Bangalore (2010)
- M.Phil, English, Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad (2005)
- MA, English Literature, Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad (2003)
- Research Fellow, Middle East Institute andAsia Research Institute, National University of Singapore (2017-2020)
- Postdoctoral Fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore (2015-17)
- Assistant Professor, School of Liberal Education, FLAME University, Pune (2014-15)
- Teaching Assistant, Department of History, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (2012-14)
- Writing Consultant, Wits Writing Centre, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (2011-14)
INVITED TALKS & CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS
- “Between Malabar and the Gulf: History, Identity and Culture in the Making of A Transnational Public Sphere” at the conference on Print Cultures, Nationalisms and Publics of the Indian Ocean, University of the Witwatersrand, January 2009.
- “Re-inventing Social and Familial Spaces in Cities of Leisure: The Case of Malabar” at the Fourteenth Annual Cultural Studies Workshop organized jointly by the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences (CSSS), Ford Foundation India and SEPHIS, at Shillong, India, February 2009.
- “Formulating a Non-Western Theory of Urban Space: Contributions of Indian Ocean Trade History” at the conference on Connecting Histories across the Indian Ocean: Religion, Politics and Popular Culture, Goa. November 2009.
- “New Geopolitical Imaginaries in South India: Contributions of the Gold Trade, Gulf Migration and Liberalisation” at the InterAsia Connections II: Singapore, jointly organised by the National University of Singapore, Hong Kong Institute for Humanities and the Social Sciences, University of Hong Kong and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), at the National University of Singapore, December 2010.
- “Russian Shuttle Trade and Dubai’s Retail Boom in the Nineties” at Unequal Cities: Social Mobility, Immobility, and Inequity in the Global South, Third Joint Dissertation Workshop, organised by the University of Copenhagen and New York University at NYU, 21-22 June 2013.
- “Pearls, Pirates and Politics: Reclaiming Dubai as Part of Indian Ocean World Histories” at the NRF Lecture Series in Local Histories, Present Realities, University of the Witwatersrand, on 2 October, 2013.
- “Mobility, Commodity Cultures and the Remaking of an Historical Geography of Commerce in the Indian Ocean” (Skype Presentation) at Slender but Supple Threads: Arabia-Asia Relations Then and Now, organized by Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, 23-24 June, 2014.
- “Rethinking Space in Global History: Dubai and the Commercial Geographies of the Indian Ocean” at Rethinking Historical Space organized by New York University, Abu Dhabi, 19-21 May, 2015.
- “Itinerant States, Roving Networks: Dubai’s Global Economy as Asian Bazaar in the Nineties” at Silk Roads, Muslim Passages: The Islam Question in China’s Expansion organized by Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, 29-30 July, 2015
- “Economy after Empire: Mobility, Money and Politics in the Western Indian Ocean” at Sharpening the Edges: Instating State and Power in Indian Ocean History. An agenda for critical research and teaching, organized by International Institute for Asian Studies, Netherlands and the Department of History at Princeton University, University of Leiden, 17 August, 2015.
- “Place-ing Dubai: Empire and the Routes to History in the Persian Gulf” NYUAD History Research Seminar at New York University, Abu Dhabi, 24 November, 2015.
- “Space, Time and Circular History: New Approaches to Urban Studies” (paper presented in Malayalam) at Cultural Studies: New Trends and Methods at the Department of Malayalam, University of Kerala, India, 19-21 January, 2016.
- “Globalizing Dubai: Gold, Malayali Consumerism and Cross-cultural Branding in the 21st Century” School of Languages and Comparative Literature, Central University of Kerala, Kasargod, India, 1 February, 2016.
- “Borrowed Cities: Migrants, Brands and Imaginaries of Urban Living in Dubai and Contemporary Kerala” Workshop on Building Asian Cities: Design, Technology and the Circulation of Architectural Knowledge and Urban Expertise, Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 23 April 2016.
- “Writing Indian Ocean History after Empire: Some Pointers from the Persian Gulf” The Second Indian Ocean Symposium organised by the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Qatar, 25 April 2016.
- “At the Crossroads of Empire and the Nation-state: The Making of an ‘Indian’ Diaspora in the Persian Gulf” The 29th Annual Conference of the Japan Association for South Asian Studies, Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, Kobe, 24-25 September 2016.
- “Of Oil, Cities and Gold: The South Asian Footprint in the Persian Gulf” at the Middle East Institute’s Arabia-Asia Cluster’s’ Quarterly Public Talk Series, 22 May 2017.
- “Beyond the Smuggler and the State: A Spatial View of Gold Smuggling and its Economy in India” at the Hyderabad Central University, 15 September 2017.
- “Diaspora Order or Nation-state: The Idea of India in the 21st Century” as part of the panel Order beyond Borders at the American Historical Association, January 3-6, 2018.
- “Dubai, the Migrant Imaginings of a Cosmopolitan World” at the Art Jameel Foundation, Dubai, 8 January 2018.
- “A Sea of Gold: Migration, Smuggling and Politics in the Western Indian Ocean after Empire at the International Conference on “Indian Diaspora and Transnationalism: Global Perspectives” organised by the UGC Centre for Indian Diaspora, University of Hyderabad and Organization for Diaspora Initiative, New Delhi, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, 4-5 October, 2018.
- “Strongman or Broker: Diplomacy Inverted in Modi’s India,” at the conference on Strongman and Networks: The Rise of Informal Diplomats, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, December 11-12, 2018.
- “Abu Dhabi’s Designs for a Post-globalisation Commercial and Security Architecture in the Indian Ocean,” at the conference on Trading the World: Routes, Resources, Realignments,” University of Copenhagen, August 22-23, 2019.
- “A Market and Society on the Move: Dubai as Asia’s Middleman Economy and Global Corridor,” at the 11th Annual International Asian Dynamics Initiative Conference, University of Copenhagen, June 18-19, 2019.
- “Bombay: The Tale of the Second World War and A Gold Market for the Rupee starved Empire,” at the 3rd Asian Consortium for South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, November 22-23, 2019.
- “Towards an Asia-Centered Maritime Middle East” at the conference on “The Southern Tier: New Gulf Thalassocracies in the Indian Ocean World,” Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, December 5-6, 2019.
- “Gold and its Cultural Cosmopolis of Glitter: Notes for a Theory of the Contemporary Urban,” on “City as Bricolage: Alternative Understandings of the Urban,” at the American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting (held virtually), April 8-11, 2021.