Sandip Kana

Sandip Kana


Personal profile

Research interests

  • Histories of education and empire.
  • Histories of science and technology.
  • Histories of non-state actors and organisations.
  • Histories of gender, race, and welfare.
  • Histories of the state.



Sandip's PhD project investigates the development of technical education in India between 1905 and 1958. It counters the the current historiographical argument that technical education was an 'indispensable tool of empire' and was used to consolidate and expand imperial control. Historians have confined their arguments to very narrow and limited lines, where developments in technical education are linked to colonial epistemological dominance through imperial technical colleges, and the use of technical education as a means of establishing and consolidating imperial control over the colonial environment through the Public Work Department's construction of various infrastructures.

His research moves the analysis of technical education beyond the institutions and structures of the state. As the first comprehensive history of non-elite technical education in India, his research makes a distinct contribution to the current historiography. His research explores the role of non-state actors and organisations in shaping the nature of non-elite technical education, which he argues forms part of India’s wider voluntarist institution building efforts. In the Indian context, he shows how voluntarism emerged through the practical initiatives that non-state actors established, to further technical education for non-elite Indians, to improve their welfare standards. The crucial historiographical intervention his investigation makes is to demonstrate how the nature of technical education, for non-elite Indians, was shaped by indigenous voluntarist initiatives that operated in non-elite educational spaces where the institutions and structures of the colonial and post-colonial state were absent.


Education/Academic qualification:

  • History Ph.D., King's College London, 2017-present.
  • Global, Imperial, and Post-colonial History MA, Queen Mary University of London, 2014-2015.
  • History BA, Queen Mary University of London, 2011-2014.


Teaching experience:


Conference papers delivered:

  • Anxieties of Empire in the Digital Age: The Problematic Rise of Platforms, Disruption, Digitalisation and Disinformation, Royster Global Conference, July 2022.
  • Voluntarism in Partition's Aftermath: The Faridabad Story, Historicizing the Refugee Experience, 17th–21st Centuries, German Historical Institute, July 2022. 
  • The 'Decolonised' Digital Journal: The Past and Future of History, The National Archives (Kew), Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities: Inclusive innovation, July 2022
  • 'Voluntarism and the Nehruvian State', Cambridge World History Workshop, January 2022.
  • Developments in welfare in post-colonial India', Imperial and World History Seminar Colonial/ Post-colonial New Researchers' IHR seminar, October 2021.
  • 'Mother, wife, or pioneer? Conflicts and tensions in the scientific and technical education of women in colonial and post-colonial India', Early Career Scholars Network of the European Society for the History of Science, September 2021.
  • ‘Producing productive and disciplined citizens: Indian youth and national development', Society for the History of Children and Youth Conference, June 2021.
  • 'Techno-nationalism in the age of colonialism: An Indian technological turn', British Association of South Asian Studies, April 2021.
  • The role of village-level science and technology in India’s developmental state' British Society for the History of Science Global Digital History of Science Festival, July 2020.
  • 'Rehabilitating refugee women in Partition’s aftermath: Bombay’s Home Industries', Institute of Historical Research Post-colonial New Researchers' Workshop, November 2020 and Institute of Historical Research Junior Fellows' Seminar, March 2021.
  • ‘Chaos in the Camps: Refugee Rehabilitation and technical training in the aftermath of partition', University of North Carolina - King's College London Workshop, July 2020.
  • Technical Tryst with America: The birth of the Indian technical nation', European Society of the History of Science Young Scholars Conference, September 2019.
  • 'The failure of Indianisation: Situating Roorkee Civil Engineering College in the anti-colonial project', Universities and their contested pasts (University of Manchester), August 2019.
  • 'Indian Nationalism and the Imperial State: Situating Technical Education in British India', Britain and the World Conference, April 2019.


Public engagement:

  • GTA Enhancement Fund - Sandip is the recipient of an award from KCL's Enhancing Education Fund for the design of a 'Decolonised' Digital Journal, which allows final year History students the ability to recover the voices and experiences of indigenous actors and communities, that are often overlooked and marginalised in the writing of the histories concerned with the era of decolonisation.
  • Salt Tax Project - Sandip carried out research into the salt tax in India, which involved photographing revenue commissioner reports on the open shelves at LSE. Helped to curate an online exhibition to mark the 90th anniversary of the Salt March.



  • IHR Peter Marshall Fellow.
  • Early Career Member of the Royal Historical Society.
  • Royal Asiatic Society Fellow.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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