Department of History| Michigan State University

506 E Circle Dr., #256|East Lansing MI 48824

swayampr@msu.edu| Twitter: @ramyasway



Michigan State University, Department of History

         Doctoral Student, 2016-

         Advanced to candidacy: February 2019

Fields: U.S./Canadian History | North American Environmental History | History of Technolog


Lawrence Technological University

         Master of Urban Design with Distinction, 2016

Thesis: Border as Infrastructure: Re-conceiving the US Canada border along the Detroit River

Jawaharlal Nehru University

         Master of Philosophy, Center for Studies in Science Policy, 2012

Thesis: Technology and Hydropolitics: A Study of the Central Water Commission in India 2006-08

Master of Arts, Center for Political Studies, 2008

University of Mumbai

Bachelor of Mass Media (specialization: Journalism), Wilson College, 2005


Humanities Intensive Leaning and Teaching (HILT), a Digital Humanities Summer School at the University of Pennsylvania,

Digital Methods for Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, 2018

Indian Law Institute

Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Law, 2008



“Exportable Engineering Expertise for ‘Development’: A Story of Large Dams in Post Independence India.” Water History 6 Issue 2 (June 2014) pp 153-165. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12685-013-0086-y

Under review

“Dredge a River, make a nation great: Shipping, commerce and territoriality in the Detroit River,1870-1905,” Michigan Historical Review “Pure Michigan”: Environmental Histories of the Great Lakes State Special edition. Spring 2019

Book reviews
The Rise of the City: Spatial Dynamics in the Urban Century
(New Horizons in Regional Science Series), edited by Karima Kourtit, Peter Nijkamp and Roger R. Stough. Science and Public Policy 44:3 (2017) 429-431. https://doi.org/10.1093/scipol/scw060

General Interest

Something Fishy in My Hilsa”, BLink- Businessline, September 2014

Fishing the Cauvery River: How Mettur Changed it allSouth Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), June 2014

Blog Posts (invited)

“Book Review: Why call Ganga a Machine?” South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) blog, June 2015.

Guesstimating a Future: Questioning Knowledge Formation, Expertise and ‘development’ in Post Independence India,” South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) blog, July 2014.


Michigan State University

HST 420: History of Sexuality since the 18th Century, Assistant Instructor, Summer 2018

ISS 220: Time, Space, and Change in Human Society, Teaching Assistant, Dr. Joshua Cochran, Spring 2018

HST 213: U.S. Business and Economic History, Teaching Assistant. Dr. Michael Stamm, Fall 2017

HST 202: Survey of American History to 1876, Assistant Instructor, Summer 2017

Lawrence Technological University

Tutor: English and Writing. Academic Achievement Center, Fall 2015 and Spring 2016

University of Mumbai, Wilson College

Visiting Adjunct Faculty: Political Concepts and the Indian Political System, Spring 2014


Modern U.S. History (post 1865), Canadian history, environmental history, infrastructural studies, borderlands history, urban history, history of science and technology, critical discard studies, history of capitalism, natural history, science and technology studies, public history, landscape studies, non-human studies


2019            Mark C. Stevens Traveling Fellowship, Bentley Historical Library,

University of Michigan

2018            Fellow, Career Diversity Implementation Grant

Part of the Career Diversity for Historians Initiative by the

American Historical Association

2018           Sinclair and S. Suzanne Powell Scholarship in Transportation

History, Department of History, Michigan State University

2017           ESPP Urban Environment Summer Research Fellowship,

Environmental Science and Policy Program at Michigan State University

2017            Madison Kuhn Award for best pre-dissertation project,

Department of History,Michigan State University

2016            Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellowship, Department of

Anthropology, Michigan State University

2012            Fox International Fellow, Yale University

2012            International Scholar, The Society for the History of Technology

2012            SHOT Travel Grant


Co-organizer: Workshop for the History of the Environment, Agriculture, Technology & Science (WHEATS) 2019

Organizing Committee, “Migration Without(out) Boundaries Conference”– an interdisciplinary graduate student conference on migration at Michigan State University, 2016 and 2017


“Fluid yet solid: River borders, infrastructure and state making,” Association for Borderlands Studies Second World Conference, 2018


“Borderlandia: Amusement Parks, Public Lands, and the story of emptiness in the Detroit River,” Society for the History of Technology Annual Meeting, St. Louis MO, October 11-14.

“Dredge a River, Make a Nation Great: Shipping, Commerce and Territoriality in the Detroit

River,” Association for Borderlands Studies World Conference, Vienna and Budapest, July 10-14, 2018.

“Country roads, border crossings: Transit, transportation and the urban environment in Detroit and Windsor,” Urban Environment: Sustainable Solutions for the Future Research Symposium, Michigan State University, East Lansing MI, October 27, 2017

“DredgeChannel’: Re-making the Detroit River for shipping”, Water History Conference of International Water History Association, Grand Rapids MI, June 15-17, 2017

“‘Wet Blanket’: Water Pollution, the International Joint Commission and the U.S.- Canada border along the Detroit River”, Association of Borderland Studies Annual Meeting, San Francisco CA, April 12-17, 2017

“Drawing a line on water: The Administrative Legacy of the Detroit River border”, Borders and Administrative Legacy Conference, Institute of Contemporary History, Ljubljana, Slovenia, November 23-26, 2017

“Border as Infrastructure: Reconceiving the political border”, Association of Borderland Studies Annual Meeting, Reno NV, April 13-17, 2016

“Border as Infrastructure:  The US Canada Border along the Detroit River”, Poster Presentation at the Michigan Association of Planning’s Student (SMAP), Conference, Detroit MI, February 2016

“Connected Cities, Disconnected Rivers: Analyzing Urban Rivers in India”, Indian Institute of Ecological Economics, Eighth Biennial Conference: Urbanization and the Environment, Bangalore India, January 2016

“Towards A Healthy And Sustainable Urban Agriculture-Based Community: A Conceptual Model For Recovery Park Project In Detroit”, Poster Presentation at the Michigan Association of Planning’s Student (SMAP), Conference, Ann Arbor MI, February 2015

“Framing a Dam-Nation: Exploring the romance of large dams in post independence water policy in India,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., December 2014

“Recasting a New River: Engineers, dams, and politics along the Cauvery in Southern India”, Society for the History of Technology Annual Meeting, Dearborn MI, November 2014

“Guesstimating a Future: Questioning Knowledge Formation, Expertise and ‘development’ in Post Independence India”, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, November 2013

“Calming the Cauvery: The Mettur Dam, Engineers and riverine communities in South India,” Political Ecology and Environmental History in Asia Round Table, American Society for Environmental History Annual Meeting, Toronto ON, April 2013

“Exportable Engineering Expertise for ‘Development’: A Story of Large Dams in Post Independence India,” Society for History of Technology (SHOT) Annual Meeting, Copenhagen, October 2012

“Tapping into ‘National’ Rivers: Dams, ‘Development’ and Engineers in Independent India,” Yale Modern South Asia Workshop, April 2012

“Deadly Dams: Resource Capture, people and ‘development’ in North East India,” Transboundary Rivers: Multilateral Frameworks for Cooperation, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses–Peace Research Institute Oslo Conference, November 2011

“National Natures for Development: Rivers and Engineers in Independent India,” Environmental Transformations and the Politics of Place, Teen Murti Workshop, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, November 2011


Peer Review

Common Ground Publishing


President, Graduate History Association, Department of History, Michigan State University, 2017-18


Member, Graduate Student Caucus, American Society for Environmental History

Review Editor, H-Midwest


Michigan History Museum (Department of Natural Resources), February 2018- present

Conducting archival research for the Michigan State Parks Centennial Project as well as

collaborating on interpreting and visualizing research output into panels and exhibition material.

Research Assistant for Dr. Sara Fingal (formerly at MSU). Michigan State University, August 2016

Worked on collecting archival material on pollution debates in the state of Michigan in the 1960s at the Archives of Michigan as well as the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan.


2013-14       Program Associate, Communications and Marketing, EMBARQ India (now WRI India Sustainable Cities)

2010            Green Life Magazine, Copy-editor/ features writer

2009            Program Associate, Initiative for Transportation and Development Program (ITDP

India, New Delhi, India. August-December.

Undertook research on transportation and traffic issues especially with regards to traffic demand management, road safety and cycling. In addition, helped in conceptualizing of projects; coordinated various events conducted especially bicycling events as well as policy level interventions with various policy makers such as the Chief Minister of Delhi amongst others.

2008-09             Research Associate, River Pollution Unit, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, India

Undertook research on issues of river pollution; mitigation strategies; pollution discharge in Indian rivers and mitigation technologies; pollution mitigation policies and technology and adaptability of zero discharge technology to Indian conditions; regular contributor to the fortnightly magazine, Down to Earth; also coordinated the launch of the Community Water Pollution Monitoring Program of CSE in Pali, Rajasthan in October 2008. The program envisaged empowerment of local communities to monitor their water quality by distributing simple kits, which can be administered, by the communities themselves.

2006-07                 Good Housekeeping, Freelance columnist

2005            ‘Your Life’- Mid Day, Reporter/ copy editor

2004            Free Press Journal, Mumbai, Independent Columnist


English (native) | Tamil (native) | Hindi (advanced) | Marathi (advanced) | French (beginner)


American Historical Association

Association for Borderlands Studies

American Society for Environmental History

Midwestern Historical Association

Organization of American Historians  

Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

Society for the History of Technology

Graduate History Association, Michigan State University


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CAD: AutoCAD (intermediate proficiency)

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