Dr James Lees

Fellowships Officer

+44 (0)20 7862 8747

James Lees is responsible for all matters relating to the IHR’s Fellowship. He runs the IHR’s several funding competitions which make more than £350,000 of awards each year. These are comprised of maintenance grants for doctoral students and early career researchers (the Junior Fellowships), subsidies in aid of publication, travel bursaries, and many smaller prizes. Details of all these competitions may be found here, with regular updates made on the @IHR_Fellowships Twitter account. Additionally, he oversees the Senior Fellowship, and provides assistance to the IHR’s annual intake of Visiting Fellows and Students.

James is also the organiser and occasional chair of the Director’s Seminar, a forum at which the Junior Fellows present and discuss their research, as well as being the staff representative on the IHR’s Advisory Council, the secretary for IHR staff meetings, and the chair of both the Institute's and the School's Health and Safety Committees.


Research and publications

James's research is mainly concerned with power relations and corruption among East India Company officials in early British India, and the influence of personal interest within its civil service on the wider character of the Company’s colonial governance.

Chapters in books

  • ‘Retrenchment, reform and the practice of military-fiscalism in the early East India Company state’, in Political Economy of Empire in the Early Modern World, S. Reinart and P. Røge, eds., (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

Articles in peer-reviewed journals

  • 'Administrator-scholars and the writing of History in early British India: a review article', Modern Asian Studies (FirstView online, August 2013).
  • ‘A “Tranquil Spectator”: the district official and the practice of local government in late eighteenth-century Bengal', Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol. 38, no. 1 (March 2010), 1–19.
  • ‘Improvising empire: economic retrenchment, armed force and local government in Bengal, 1765–c. 1810’, History Studies, vol. 7 (2006), 31–41.

Book reviews

Selected research papers

  • Aug. 2013: University of Greenwich, Re-Newing the Military History of Colonial South Asia
    ‘Sepoys and sebundies: the role of regular and paramilitary armed forces in the formation of the early Company state in Bengal, c. 1765 – c. 1815.’
  • Jan. 2013: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Humanities and Social Sciences Research Seminar
    Fortune-hunters, paramilitaries, and the limits of British colonial rule in late eighteenth-century Bengal.’
  • June 2012: University of Cambridge, Genealogies of Colonial Violence
    ‘”A patient witness of all these cruelties”: Richard Goodlad and the bureaucratic context of the 1783 Rangpur dhing.’
  • Oct. 2011: University of Liverpool, Representing Administration and Bureaucracy in Historical Perspective
    Personal interest and the culture of concealment: European district officials of the British East India Company in Bengal, c. 1765 to c. 1800.’
  • Sept. 2008: University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, History Department Research Seminar
    ‘Empire on the cheap? Paramilitaries and local government in late eighteenth-century Bengal.’