Dr Amelia Bonea

I am a historian of South Asia and the British Empire, with a particular interest in the history of science, technology and medicine and media history. I have a BLA and MA in Asian Area Studies from the University of Tokyo and a PhD in Modern History from the University of Heidelberg.

My research to date has focused on the ways in which new technologies of communication have been used in various domains of social life and on the relationship between technology and health. My first monograph, The News of Empire: Telegraphy, Journalism, and the Politics of News Reporting in Colonial India, c.1830-1900 (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2016), was based on my doctoral dissertation and investigated how electric telegraphy was incorporated into news reporting practices in nineteenth-century India. It was awarded the 2017 AHA Eugenia M. Palmegiano Prize for the History of Journalism. 

After completing my PhD, I joined the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford to work on a project about disease and mobile phones in urban India. This project used the controversies surrounding the installation of mobile towers on schools, hospitals and residential buildings as a springboard for pondering middle-class environmental activism in India, the role of science in public health policy and the role of the media in disseminating medical knowledge.

Since March 2014, I am a postdoctoral researcher on the ERC funded project "Diseases of Modern Life", coordinated by Prof. Sally Shuttleworth. As part of this project, I am examining health concerns associated with technologies of communication in the nineteenth century, with a particular focus on telegraphs and telephones.

  Modern History of South Asia, History of the British Empire, Media History, History of Science, Technology and Medicine



2016. The News of Empire: Telegraphy, Journalism, and the Politics of Reporting in Colonial India, c.1830-1900. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.


Articles in Refereed Journals

2017. “Technological Anxieties: Telecom Towers and Public Health Controversies in Urban India”. Contemporary South Asia, 25, no. 2, 196-211.

2014. “Telegraphy and Journalism in Colonial India, c.1830s-1900”. History Compass 12, 387-397.

2013.  “19-seiki Indo ni okeru shimbun to gijutsu: Denshin wo jirei ni” [Newspapers and Technology in Nineteenth-Century India: The Case of the Telegraph]. Journal of the Japanese Association for South Asian Studies 25, 128-151. (In Japanese)

2010. “The Medium and Its Message: Reporting the Austro-Prussian War in the Times of India”. Historical Social Research 35, 167-187.


Chapters in Edited Volumes and Articles in Encyclopaedias

(Forth. 2018). “An Imperial Ideology of News: News Values and Reporting about Japan in Colonial India”. In Edinburgh History of the British and Irish Press, vol. 2: Expansion and Evolution, 1800-1900, ed. by David Finkelstein. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

2016. “Imperial Posts and Telegraphs”. In Encyclopedia of Empire, ed. by John M. MacKenzie, pp. 1-6. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.

 2013. “‘All the News That's Fit to Print?’ Reuter's Telegraphic News Service in Colonial India”. In Global Communication Electric: Business, News and Politics in the World of Telegraphy, ed. by M. Michaela Hampf and Simone Mueller-Pohl, pp. 223-245. Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag.

2013. “The ‘Indian Coolie Mission’ in Fiji: Discourses of Labour, Religion and Race in the Australasian Methodist Missionary Review”. In Missions and Media: The Politics of Missionary Periodicals in the Long Nineteenth-Century, ed. by Felicity Jensz and Hanna Acke, pp. 169-186. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag. 


Translations (Japanese-English)

2012. Yamasaki, Akiko. “Handicrafts and Gender in Modern Japan”, trans. Amelia Bonea. Journal of Modern Craft 5, 259-274. 

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