Martin J Bayly is an Assistant Professor in International Relations Theory in the Department of International Relations at LSE, where he has taught International Relations since 2014. Having joined the Department as an LSE Fellow his latest research project, funded by the British Academy, was hosted by the Centre for International Studies for the duration of 2016-2019.
His research interests concern empire and International Relations in South Asia, with a particular emphasis on knowledge and expertise as a product of the colonial encounter. His first book, Taming the Imperial Imagination, published by Cambridge University Press in 2016, provides a new history of Anglo-Afghan relations in the nineteenth century showing how the British Empire in India sought to understand and control its peripheries through the use of colonial knowledge. Beginning with the disorganised exploits of nineteenth century explorers and ending with the cold strategic logic of the militarised ‘scientific frontier’, the book shows how this evolving body of knowledge informed policy choices and cast Afghanistan in a separate legal and normative universe. The book was awarded the Francesco Guicciardini Prize for best book in historical international relations 2018, awarded by the historical IR section of the International Studies Association.
His latest research proposes a global, intellectual, and institutional history of modern South Asian international thought as a product European and non-European dialogues of knowledge in the learned societies of colonial India. Concentrating on the Asiatic Society of Bengal, the United Services Institution, and the Indian Council on World Affairs, the research will examine these institutions as sites of a global encounter between mobile elites from both regions. The project seeks to offer new avenues for the study of international thought in the non-west, and to give new insights into the origins of International Relations as a global project of colonial modernity.
Prior to joining LSE Martin taught at King’s College London, where he also completed his PhD in International Relations. He holds an MPhil in International Relations from St Antony’s College, Oxford University, and a BA with First Class Honours in Politics from the University of Newcastle Upon-Tyne.