Aaron Windel

Associate Professor
Office: AQ 6239
Email: awindel@sfu.ca



I grew up in the Midwest of the United States and did my undergraduate degree at a small college in the Ozark mountains of the U.S. South.  I received my PhD from the University of Minnesota in 2010.  Before coming to SFU, I taught in New England at Bowdoin College and the University of Massachusetts.

Research Interests

I research the political and social history of modern Britain, the British empire, the history of media and technology, rural economics and colonial development.  My current book project traces the path that brought the cooperative movement into the centre of British colonial development and its spectacle of community-driven rural modernization during the last decades of colonial rule.  From India to Malaysia, Africa and elsewhere I follow how missionaries, social science experts, and government officials “discovered” cooperatives as a technopolitics that they hoped would resolve a host of late-colonial-era crises.  The system of cooperative development that they attempted to construct was supposed to support colonial ideology and stabilize the empire.  However, as I explore with particular focus on Africa, such plans for cooperatives were challenged by anti-colonial movements that advanced very different visions of development for a post-colonial future.



"Mass Education, Cooperation, and the 'African Mind'" in Modernization as Spectacle in Africa, Miescher, Bloom, Manuh, eds.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press (2014)

"The Early Roots of Liberal Imperialism: 'The science of a legislator' in eighteenth-century India" [with Anna Clark], Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, vol. 14, no. 2 (Summer 2013)

“Cooperatives and the Technocrats; or, 'the Fabian Agony Revisited'” in Brave New World: Imperial and Democratic Nation Building between the Wars, Beers and Thomas, eds. London: Institute of Historical Research (2012)

“The Bantu Educational Kinema Experiment and the Political Economy of Community Development,” in Empire and Film, Grieveson and MacCabe, eds. London: Palgrave/British Film Institute (2011)

“Education in British Colonial Africa: Policy and Practice in the Era of Trusteeship” History Compass (December 2008)

Teaching Interests

I teach classes on modern Britain and the British empire, colonialism and post-colonialism, the history of technology, and the history of capitalism.


News about Aaron Windel