Mark Balmforth

Mark E. Balmforth is a Ph.D. Candidate in the religions of South Asia. His interdisciplinary historical work engages with inherited inequalities in South Asian, Sri Lankan, and Tamil pasts. His dissertation, titled “‘A Peninsularity of Mind:’ Pedagogy, Protestants, and Power in British Colonial Ceylon, 1796–1855,” charts the entwining of caste, nation, and gender in nineteenth-century American missionary boarding schools in Ceylon. Between 2016 and 2017, he spent fourteen months conducting dissertation research in Sri Lanka’s Jaffna Peninsula on a U.S. Fulbright award, during which time he also led two British Library-funded archive search and digitization programs (EAP835/EAP971). Prior to his fieldwork, he spent several years studying Tamil and Sinhala, including a year in Madurai, India. Mark holds a BA in the comparative history of ideas (University of Washington, '10), MAs in religion and South Asian studies (both Columbia, '15), and an MPhil. in religion (Columbia, ‘16). Originally from Seattle, Mark is currently writing his dissertation from Toronto, Canada. His cv can be downloaded here, and more detail about his research and publications can be found at