The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Asheesh Kapur Siddique

Assistant Professor of History

(413) 545-5677

Personal Website

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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 working on three book projects. The first, Rule Through Paper: Archive, Indigeneity, and Modernity in the Governance of the British Empire, 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 for ‘historical’ knowledge rather than resources for ‘administration.’

The second, The Archival Origins of the Revolutionary Americas, examines the ideological and material origins of the first written histories of late eighteenth century Atlantic world revolutions through a prosopography of the lives and methods of late eighteenth and nineteenth century historical writers and documentary editors in North America, Europe, and the Caribbean.

The third, Legal Meanings: Intention and Method in the United States From 1787 to the Present, is a history of the idea in American culture and politics that law (both constitutional and statutory) possesses a coherent intention; and of the methods of reading and research through which politicians, judges, lawyers, and activists have claimed such an intention could be discerned.

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 funded 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.

At UMass Amherst, Professor Siddique plans to offer courses on the American Revolution; the making of American capitalism from 1492 to the present; early modern Europe in global contexts; the early modern Atlantic world; the history of the corporation; the history of the book and of reading; the British empire; the history of Western political thought; and American and European cultural and intellectual history.

Twitter: @AsheeshKSi

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.), Practiques 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