The Department of History
Veena Talwar Oldenburg
History of India; Third-World women
Phone: (646) 312-4330
Location: VC 5-251
A native of India, Veena Talwar Oldenburg received her B.A. from Loreto Convent College in Lucknow and her M.A. in European History from the University of Lucknow, with a First Class First and two gold medals. In 1970 she arrived in the United States on a Teaching Fellowship at the University of Bridgeport, where she picked up another Masters Degree in History, and then proceeded to get her Ph. D. in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has been the recipient of senior research fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, American Institute of Indian Studies, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Philosophical Society for Useful Knowledge.
Among her publications is her work on British colonial urbanization, The Making of Colonial Lucknow, 1856-77 (Princeton University Press, 1984; reprinted in paperback by Oxford University Press in their Oxford Omnibus series fro classics, 1990), “Life Style as Resistance: The Case of the Courtesans of Lucknow” (Feminist Studies, 1990) and articles on women's issues in the colonial period. Her book, Dowry Murder: The Imperial Origins of a Cultural Crime (Oxford University Press, 2001) combines her interest in colonial history, anthropology, and the politics of gender. A popular version, entitled Dowry Murder: Reinvestigating a Cultural Whodunit (Penguin, 2010) now makes it the classic history of gender relations and dowry in the colonial and post-colonial periods in north India. She has several scholarly articles on gender, violence, and colonialism.
Veena Oldenburg has taught at Loreto Convent College, Columbia University, and Sarah Lawrence College. She is currently Associate Professor of History at Baruch College and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. She teaches courses on Modern India, British Colonialism, and Women's History in the Third World, Modern European and Global History.
She has worked in other allied areas, as the consultant and administrator at the Social Science Research Council on the Ford Foundation project on the South Asian Political Economy, been on the lecture roster of the Asia Society and a consultant on their educational programs, a research associate at the Southern Asian Institute, a regular outreach lecturer and a University Seminar Member at Columbia University. And for almost a quarter century she has remained an avid New Yorker, making the project of her life as important as her career.