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Antoinette Burton

Profile picture for Antoinette  Burton

Contact Information

309 Gregory Hall
810 S Wright
M/C 466
Urbana, IL 61801

Research Interests

Modern Britain and empire; colonial India; women, race, gender and feminism; archives and embodied experience; postcolonial studies; world history; the biocultural and animal histories; anti-imperial critique 

Research Description

I’m a historian of 19th and 20th century Britain and its empire, with a specialty in colonial India and an ongoing interest in Australasia and Africa. I’ve written on topics ranging from feminism and colonialism to the relationship of empire to the nation and the world. Women, gender and sexuality have always been central to my research, which has drawn on intersectional methods to privilege race as a modality through which systems and identities operate. I've been especially concerned with the role of Indian women in India, in Britain and in the wider diaspora. I’ve edited collections about politics, mobility, postcolonialism, animals and world histories from below, and have frequently collaborated with Tony Ballantyne.

At Illinois I have taught courses on modern British history and imperialism, gender and colonialism, autobiography and the archive, approaches and methods and world history. I am currently working on several collaborations, which take the form of edited collections on subjects ranging from biocultural empire to critical fabulations to history and poetry.  I am the editor of a Duke University Press series on history teaching. And my most recent monograph, Gender History: A Very Short Introduction, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

In addition to my work as a historian, I am  the director of the campus humanities center, The Humanities Research Institute. For more information click here. I am also the Principal Investigator for Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grants which support The Odyssey Project and the 16-partner consortium, Humanities Without Walls.

In 2023 I was appointed to the Board of Illinois Humanities. I also serve as the chair of the Faculty Board of the University of Illinois Press.


B.A. Yale University, 1983
M.A. University of Chicago, 1984
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1990


Principal Investigator

* Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Humanities without Walls ($12.2million)

* Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Emerging Areas in the Humanities ($2m)

* Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Publishing without Walls (co-PI; $1m)

* Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Odyssey Project ($650,000)

 * Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, “Interseminars” (planning grant, $150,000)

* Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, “Interseminars” ($2m)

 * ACLS/DRIVE Postdoc-to-Faculty/Early Career URM scholars ($170k)

 * Presidential Initiative for Celebrating the Arts and Humanities ($150,000)

  *  UIUC Inv. for Growth, Training in Digital Methods for Humanists (c.  $660k)

Awards and Honors

Swanlund Endowed Professor, University of Illinois, 2018-
Center for Advanced Study Professor, 2018-
John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, 2010-11
Sustainability Studies Initiative in the Humanities Fellowship, UIUC, 2011-12
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2015 (declined)
Catherine C. and Bruce A. Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies, University of Illinois, 2004-18
University Scholar, University of Illinois, 2001-2004
William Evans Residential Fellowship, University of Otago (Dunedin, NZ), 2004
American Philosophical Society Research Fellowship, 1995
NEH summer seminar, “The Culture of London, 1850-1925,” Institute of Historical Research, London, 1995
American Council of Learned Societies Research Fellowship, 1993
Fulbright Scholar to the United Kingdom, 1987-88

Additional Campus Affiliations

Maybelle Leland Swanlund Endowed Chair, History
Professor, History
Professor, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
Professor, Gender and Women's Studies
Professor, National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA)
CAS Professor, Center for Advanced Study
Director, Humanities Research Institute, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation
Professor, Women & Gender in Global Perspectives
Professor, European Union Center
Professor, Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Professor, Center for African Studies

Recent Publications

Burton, A. M., Davis, J. L., & Brennan, M. L. (2024). Reciprocity and Redistribution: Methodologies for Rethinking Public and Community-based Humanities Research . In D. Fisher-Livne, & M. May-Curry (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Public Humanities Scholarship (Routledge Literature Companions). Routledge.

Burton, A. (2023). New Histories of Gender, Mobility and Labour: India and the Indian Diaspora. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 30(1), 7-10.

Burton, A. (2022). Introduction to the Book Forum on Ishita Pande’s Sex, Law, and the Politics of Age: Child Marriage in India, 1891–1937. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 29(3), 406-407.

Burton, A. M. (2022). Semicolonial Horsewifery as Detective Fiction: “Trinket’s Colt” and the Mysteries of the Irish R.M. In L. E. Nym Mayhall, & E. Prevost (Eds.), British Murder Mysteries, 1880-1965: Facts and Fictions (pp. 97-118). (Crime Files). Palgrave Macmillan.

Burton, A. (2021). Digital methods + empire histories = new, old, and emerging practices. Journal of World History, 32(2), 191-197.

View all publications on Illinois Experts