Dr Kim Wagner

Senior Lecturer in British Imperial History

Location Arts Two 3.31

Email: k.wagner@qmul.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8428

I joined Queen Mary in 2012. I completed a Ph.D. in South Asian history at the University of Cambridge in 2003 and was subsequently a junior Research Fellow at King’s College, Cambridge (2004-2008). At the University of Edinburgh, I was involved in an AHRC-funded research-project (2007-2009), following which I took up a lectureship at the University of Birmingham, teaching imperial and world history.


I work on British imperialism, conflict and culture, and have published extensively on banditry and rebellion in colonial India, especially on the subject of ‘Thuggee’ and the ‘Mutiny’ or Indian Uprising of 1857. I am particularly interested in British fears of indigenous conspiracies during the 19th and 20th centuries, and my research focuses on colonial policing and intelligence gathering as well as the correlation between knowledge, panic and anxieties within the context of imperialism. Current research projects include:

  • Anxieties of Empire
  • Public Executions and Colonial State Violence
  • Imperial policing and the British Imagination
  • The Amritsar Massacre and the Crisis of Empire 1919

Current PhD Students

  • Jacob Smith – Imperial Retribution: The hunt for Nana Sahib and rebel leaders in the aftermath of the Indian “Mutiny” of 1857

Undergraduate teaching

Postgraduate teaching

Postgraduate supervision 

I welcome applications from candidates wishing to undertake doctoral research in the following areas:

  • British Imperialism and South Asia 1757-1947
  • Colonial knowledge, policing and intelligence gathering
  • Colonial panics and popular culture
  • Crime and banditry in World History
  • Orientalism and Postcolonial Theory
  • Micro-history and Anthropology
  • Counter-insurgency and colonial state violence
  • Riots, resistance and rebellion in South Asia
  • Anglo-Indian literature


Articles in Peer-reviewed journals

  • ‘Treading Upon Fires’: The ‘Mutiny’-Motif and Colonial Anxieties in British India’, Past & Present, 218, 1 (February, 2013), 159-197.
  • ‘The Marginal Mutiny: The New Historiography of the Indian Uprising of 1857’, History Compass, 9, 10 (Oct. 2011), 760-766.
  • ‘Confessions of a Skull: Phrenology and Colonial Knowledge in early nineteenth-century India’, History Workshop Journal, 69 (Spring, 2010), 28-51.
  • ‘Thuggee and Social Banditry Reconsidered’, The Historical Journal, 50, 2 (2007), 353-376.
  • ‘The Deconstructed Stranglers – A Reassessment of Thuggee’, Modern Asian Studies, 38, 4, (2004), 931-963.

Single-authored Books

Contributions to Edited Volumes

Co-authored and Co-edited Work


  • ‘‘Thugs and Assassins’: ‘New Terrorism’ and the Resurrection of Colonial Knowledge’, in Carola Dietze & Claudia Verhoeven (eds) Oxford Handbook of the History of Terrorism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).