Student Research and The Company’s Sword by Dr. Christina Welsch

Christina Welsch, associate professor of History and South Asian Studies at The College of Wooster, has recently published a book titled The Company’s Sword: The East India Company and the Politics of Militarism, 1644-1858. The book focuses on India’s military and political landscape in the eighteenth century. However, instead of centering the narrative on the more well-known territories in the North, Welsch shifts the focus of her book to Southern India. The result is a fresh perspective on the Rebellions of 1857 and ultimately the fall of the British East India Company in India. 

During her research, two College of Wooster undergraduates helped Professor Welsch. Georgina Tierney ‘22, and Cat Long ‘21 assisted Professor Welsch by looking through primary source material that Welsh utilized in her first and last chapters. 

Tierney read through military documents from the 1600s. Her job was to identify the differences between peons and sepoys, who were both military positions in the British Army that were occupied by Indians. Tierney tracked the roles of these men through a large number of records, giving Professor Welsch a better idea of how the British Empire used non-white labor. Tierney’s research is used in the first chapter of The Company’s Sword

Long’s work with Professor Welsch had her reading through British and Indian newspapers from after the 1857 Rebellions. Long tracked the rhetoric used in the media about the rebellions. Specifically, Cat was looking for evidence of officers continuing to claim that they, the military, were the only people who could maintain imperial stability. Long was successful in finding this rhetoric after the rebellions, her research was used in the last chapter of Welsch’s book.

Both of these students were able to work closely with a College of Wooster professor, getting hands-on research experience and recognition in a published work.