Eleonor Marcussen is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Colonial History at the Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies in the Department of Cultural Sciences. She studied at Uppsala University and Lund University in Sweden before she received her PhD in South Asian History from the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University in Germany. She is currently on a research leave as an Assistant Professor in History, Department of History and Philosophy, North South University, Bangladesh. She has previously worked as a Junior Research Fellow at the School of Ecology and Environment Studies at Nalanda University in Bihar and New Delhi.
At Heidelberg University I was a member of the research group 'Cultures of Disaster: Shifting Asymmetries Between Societies, Cultures, and Nature from a Comparative Historical and Transcultural Perspective' in the Cluster of Excellence 'Asia and Europe in a Global Context.' Related to the research project, I taught the course 'Natural Disasters in Late Colonial South Asia: Perceptions, Interpretations and Reactions' at the Department of History of the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University. As an Assistant Professor in History at North South University, I have taught courses on Global/World History and Introduction to World Civilizations.
In my forthcoming book 'Acts of Aid: Politics of Relief and Reconstruction in the Aftermath of the 1934 Bihar-Nepal Earthquake' I examine the organization of relief and reconstruction work by civil society and the state in India in the 1930s. In the field of historical disaster research, my interests span from the perceptions of risk to the introduction of new building technologies and the politicalization of disaster aftermaths. In the context of the growing internationalization of disaster aid in the 1930s, I work on a project about civil society and cooperation between transnational networks in South Asia and Europe.
Joseph Stephens was one of many Europeans, mainly Danes and Germans, who bought agrarian lands in the south Sweden county of Småland as the economic crisis marked by poverty and emigration hit the region in the second half of the 19th century. In the late 1860s, Stephens purchased the large iron estate Huseby Bruk outside Växjö after having made a fortune as a railway contractor in colonial India and would come to infuse new life into the estate's business for the next decades. In the research project 'Huseby in the World' (Huseby i Världen) I look at how colonial networks and transfers of knowledge played a role in the development of the iron estate Huseby Bruk during Stephens' time.
When Stephens left India, he kept many documents from the railway construction business and correspondence in the attic at Huseby Bruk, only to be discovered and catalogued at Linnaeus University Library in 2008. Besides the papers of Joseph Stephens, Linnaeus University Library Archives hold a large collection of documents that show the history of Huseby Bruk across many hundred years, including a number of more limited archives of persons with close attachment to the estate during the 19th and 20th centuries. In my research, the papers of Joseph Stephens, his private papers and business documents from India as well as from the subsequent period in Sweden provide an important source for understanding the development of the estate in the larger context of colonial enterprise, industrialization and local economic changes that took place in the second half of the 19th century.
Article in journal (Refereed)
- Marcussen, E. (2017). Town Planning after the 1934 Bihar-Nepal Earthquake : Earthquake-safety, colonial improvements and the restructuring of urban space in Bihar. Studies in Nepali History and Society. 22. 321-354.
Chapter in book (Refereed)
- Marcussen, E. (2018). Cooperation and Pacifism in a Colonial Context : Service Civil International and Work Camps in Bihar, 1934-1937. HerStory – Historical Scholarship between South Asia and Europe : Festschrift in Honour of Gita Dharampal-Frick. Heidelberg, Berlin, CrossAsia-eBooks. 83-102.
- Marcussen, E. (2017). Explaining the 1934 Bihar-Nepal Earthquake : The Role of Science, Astrology, and “Rumours”. Historical Disaster Experiences : Towards a Comparative and Transcultural History of Disasters Across Asia and Europe. Heidelberg, Springer. 241-266.