My current book project accounts for the colonial origins of global capitalism through a radical history of the concept of the peasant. Focused on the transformation of the agrarian economy in the Panjab region of South Asia during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it argues that the politics of cultural difference are essential to understanding the history of class and inequality in the modern world. I demonstrate how the ideological and material practices of British rule disrupted and reordered caste, tribal and religious identities to create a new hierarchy in the countryside. The notion of a hereditary peasant engaged in timeless agriculture thus emerged, paradoxically, as the result of a dramatic series of conceptual, juridical and monetary divisions that traversed the colonizer/colonized divide. Together this generated a distinct form of capitalist accumulation, at once coeval yet apart from its given trajectory in the West. Far from an archaic remnant, my book reveals the peasant to be a novel political subject produced through the encounter between colonialism and struggles over culture and capital within Panjabi society.