The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Asheesh Kapur Siddique

Assistant Professor of History

(413) 545-5677

Personal Website

Herter 604

Asheesh Kapur Siddique is an assistant professor in the Department of History at UMass Amherst. He is a historian of early America, early modern Europe, and the British empire whose research and pedagogy explores the role of collecting, managing, and using knowledge to the history of state formation and governance. 

Professor Siddique is completing a book, tentatively entitled Rule Through Paper: Archive and Language in the Governance of the British Empire, which explores the relationship between archival and linguistic knowledge as tools of governance in the British empire in both the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The book compares how imperial bureaucrats deployed these different tools in the British Atlantic world and in British Asia; and explains why archives gradually came to be seen as repositories of ‘historical’ knowledge rather than resources for ‘administration.' Other ongoing projects examine the history of 'early American' history writing; the concept of textual 'intention' in legal and political thought; and the intertwined histories of financial capitalism and American higher education. 

Professor Siddique was trained at Columbia University (PhD, 2016), the University of Oxford (MPhil, 2009), and Princeton University (AB, 2007). From 2016-2018, he was a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at the University of Southern California. From 2018-2019, he was a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Humanities & Information at Penn State University. His research has been supported by institutions such as the American Philosophical Society, the Huntington Library, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture, and the Social Science Research Council. His 2020 article in the William & Mary Quarterly on archival knowledge and the development of political economy was awarded the Society for U.S. Intellectual History's 2020 Dorothy Ross Article Prize for "best article in U.S. intellectual history" by "an emerging scholar." He has also written for public facing outlets such as The Daily BeastInside Higher Ed, and Teen Vogue. During the 2021-2022 academic year, he will be on leave while holding an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Assistant Professors in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study.

At UMass Amherst, Professor Siddique's courses have covered subjects such as the American Revolution; early American thought and culture; the making of American capitalism from 1492 to the present; the early modern Atlantic world; and the history of the corporation. Future courses will examine topics such as the history of the early modern British empire and the history of data. 

Twitter: @AsheeshKSi

Personal website: 

Research Areas

Early America
Atlantic World
British Empire
Early Modern Europe
History of the Book / History of Media
Political History
Legal History
History of Political Thought


For a complete listing with links and DOI, please see

"How Does Paper Mean?," Modern Intellectual History, forthcoming.

“The Archival Epistemology of Political Economy in the Early Modern British Atlantic World," William & Mary Quarterly 3rd ser., 77, no. 4 (October 2020), 641-674.

"Governance Through Documents: The Board of Trade, Its Archive, and the Imperial Constitution of the Eighteenth Century British Atlantic,” Journal of British Studies 59.2 (April 2020), 264-290.

"From Formal Circulation to Archival Use: The Remark Book and the Admiralty Archive in the British Empire, 1759-1819," in Maria-Pia Donato and Anne Saada (eds.), Pratiques d’archives à l’époque moderne: Europe, mondes coloniaux (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2019), 369-390.

"Mobilizing the 'State Papers' of Empire: John Bruce, Early Modernity, and the Bureaucratic Archives of Britain," Journal of Early Modern History 22.5 (October 2018), 392-410.

Courses Recently Taught

Undergraduate Courses:
American Thought & Culture, I: 1630-1865
The Craft of History
Early America in an Age of Revolution
The Corporation in History