Jason in his office

Jason Freitag

Associate Professor, History
School: School of Humanities and Sciences
Phone: 607-274-5798
Office: Muller Faculty Center 423, Ithaca, NY 14850
Specialty: South Asia, Middle East, British Empire

Education and Academic Positions

  • Ph.D. Columbia University, Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures
  • M.Phil. Columbia University, Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures
  • M.A. New York University, Religious Studies
  • B.A. New York University, Psychology

I joined the Department of History at Ithaca College in 2003, after serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor of History and Humanities at Reed College (Portland, OR).

Scholarly Interests

I am an historian of South Asia and the British Empire, with a secondary scholarly field of Islamic Civilizations.  My research focuses on Indian state of Rajasthan, and the construction of both British and Indian histories of Rajasthan in the early nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 

My book, Serving Empire, Serving Nation: James Tod and the Rajputs of Rajasthan (Brill, 2009), explores the relationships between the political power of the British imperial state, the construction of historical memories, and the uses of these constructions by European writers and Indian nationalist elites. The case of the Rajputs demonstrates how imperial histories reflected Indian social processes and pre-colonial forms of knowledge, interpreted India for the world outside and for Indians themselves.

My current research examines the life of the Mewari Princess Krishna Kumari, the political, cultural and historical ramifications of the Rajput battles for her hand in marriage, and the representations of female heroism that emerge after her death in 1810.  I also have an interest in the relationship between German Orientalism and Indian history.  I have recently published an essay on an Indian view of Nietzsche, and I have an essay in progress on Weber’s understanding of Indian religion.

Teaching Interests

  • World Civilizations I & II
  • Modern South Asia
  • South Asia: State and History
  • The Rise and Fall of the British Empire
  • Islamic Civilizations: From the Time of Muhammad to the Nineteenth Century
  • Islam in the Modern World
  • The Mughal Empire
  • The Ottoman Empire
  • Global History Seminar: Caste, Class and Race in South Asia
  • Global History Seminar: How the World Does History: Cross-Cultural Historiography
  • Global History Seminar: Travel, Tourism, History
  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Global Seminar: Empire and Nation in South Asia
  • Honors Seminar: The Ocean of Stories: Sanskrit Literature in Translation
  • Ithaca Seminar: Before Race: Power, Hierarchy and Difference in the Ancient and Classical Worlds
  • Ithaca Seminar: Pirates, Rebels and Slaves: British Sovereignty in the Atlantic World

Selected Publications


Serving Empire, Serving Nation: James Tod and the Rajputs of Rajasthan. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers (2009).

In Edited Volumes

“India's Nietzsche: The Superman in the East,” in Todd Lewis & Bruce Owen (eds.) Sucāruvādadeśika: A Festschrift Honoring Professor Theodore Riccardi, Jr.   Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Press Group, (2013). 

 “Becoming Rajput: An Historical Perspective,” in Garden and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur, Debra Diamond, Catherine Glynn & Karni Singh Jasol; with contributions by Jason Freitag & Rahul Jain, Washington, D.C.: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution (2008).