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History Department


Bernardo Michael  

Associate Professor


South Asian, World History, Historiography, Ethnographic History


Office: 256 Boyer Hall

Phone: 717-766-2511 x 7117








Bernardo Michael

Educational Background


  • Ph.D., Modern South Asian History, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2001
  • M.A., Medieval South Asian History, University of Delhi, 1986
  • B.A., History (Hons), St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, 1984





Bernardo A. Michael is a historian of Modern South Asia. His research has focused on the relationship between Nepali state formation, British colonialism, and territorial reordering on the subcontinent. He teaches courses in Asian and World history, and Historical Methods.  He has lived and worked in south Asia including spending nearly eight years in community development work in Nepal. He regularly takes students to Nepal on a cross cultural in May-June. Until recently we was the Director of the Center for Public Humanities at Messiah College. He now works on diversity affairs as the Special Assistant to the President & Provost, for Diversity Affairs. He lives in Camp Hill, PA with his wife Shanti, and three children, Sharon, David, & Mary.



Courses Taught


  • History of South Asia (before 1500)

  • History of India & Pakistan (post 1500)

  • Gandhi’s India: Caste in Modern India

  • Gandhi’s India: Colonialism, Nationalism and Subalterns in Modern India

  • Readings in Ethnographic History: Theoretical and South Asian Perspectives

  • Premodern Civilizations of Asia (before 1500)

  • Modern Civilizations of Asia (post 1500)

  • Modern Civilizations of Asia, post 1500 (Non-Western)

  • World Civilizations (pre 1500)

  • World Civilizations (post 1500)

  • Historical Methods

  • Cross Cultural: Ethnographic Performances in Nepal

  • Ethnography, Development & Globalization



SELECTED Publications


  • 2010 (forthcoming). "The Tarai: A Part of Moghlan or Gorkha? Perspectives from the Time of the Anglo-Gorkha War (1814-1816)." In Himalaya, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies.
  • 2009. “Spatiality, Power, and Statemaking in Colonial South Asia: The Case of the Anglo-Gorkha Frontier, 1740-1816.” In Peter W. Kirby, ed., Boundless Worlds: Social Dynamics of 'Space', Power, and Movement (New York: Berghahn Books), pp. 45-68.

  • 2007. Land, Labour, Local Power, and the Constitution of Agrarian Territories on the Anglo-Gorkha Frontier, 1700-1815,” in Michael Mann ed., Special Issue on the Environment in Internationales Asienforum International Quarterly for Asian Studies,Volume 38, no. 3-4, pp. 309-328.

  • 2007. “Making Territory Visible: The Revenue Surveys of Colonial South Asia,” in Imago Mundi: Journal for the International History of Cartography, Volume 59, no. 1 (2007): 78-95.

  • 2006. “Tarai: Mughalko Bagh va Gorkhako [in Nepali].” In Basant Thapa & Mohan Mainali, eds., Madesh: Samasya ra Sambhavana (Kathmandu: Social Science Baha), pp. 8-27.

  • 2003. “When Soldiers and Statesmen Meet: ‘Ethnographic Moments’ on the Frontiers of Empire.” In Stewart Gordon, ed., Robes of Honour: Khil’at in Pre-Colonial and Colonial India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), pp. 80-94.



SELECTED Presentations


  • “‘Crushed Glass’: Memory, History and Identity in a South Indian Family,” Centennial and Annual Spring Humanities Symposium, Messiah College, 23 February 2010.
  • “Understanding the Territorial Structure of the Anglo-Gorkha Frontier, 1750-1814,” 20th Conference of the International Association of Historians of Asia, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, 14-17 November 2008.
  • “Nepali History as World History.” 19th Social Science Baha Lecture, Social Science Baha, Kathmandu, Nepal, 20 June 2007. 
  • “Cultures of Governance and the Production of Space Along the Anglo-Gorkha Frontier, 1780-1814,” Panel on Historical geographies of embodied practice, Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, San Francisco, 17-21 April 2007.
  • Panel Organizer & Discussant. Panel Title: “Worlding Maps: Culture, Power, History, and Space in the Cartographic History of South Asia.” The 19th European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies, 27-30 June 2006. Leiden, Netherlands.
  • “Inscribing Maps on the Land: ‘Non-Cartographic’ Practices in Colonial South Asia,” The 19th European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies, 27-30 June 2006. Leiden, Netherlands.  
  • “Mapping Spatial Illegibility: The Anglo-Gorkha War of 1814-16 and the colonial Revenue Surveys of the Nineteenth Century in South Asia.” Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, January 8-11, 2004 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.


Current Activities


Bernardo is currently working on a book length manuscript on Statemaking and Space in colonial south with reference to the Anglo-Gorkha war (1814-1816). He is also working on a longer project on the history of the Far West region on Nepal in the 19th century along with a number of smaller projects on postcolonial faith, and family history. He has articles under review and his current investments in diversity affairs takes him to conferences and workshops on the theme of inclusive excellence.