Professor Nandini Chatterjee appointed to Chair in Indian Culture and History


The Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Nandini Chatterjee as our new Chair in Indian History and Culture. Prof Chatterjee is an historian of South Asia who works on law and cultural exchanges in the British and Mughal empires - with particular attention to religion and family. She is currently Professor of South Asian History at the University of Exeter and has been the Director of the Exeter South Asia Centre.


Her first book, The Making of Indian Secularism (2011) was on the shaping on the minority religious community of Indian Christians, and their contribution, directly and indirectly, to the emergence of a culture of secular politics, governance and sociability. In 2020, she published Negotiating Mughal Law: a Family of Landlords Across Three Indian Empires, a rare micro-history of a family of zamindars (landlords) and their negotiation of the laws of the Mughal empire. This book won the Peter Gonville Stein book award from the American Society of Legal History in 2021.


Prof. Chatterjee's key interests include citizen-led archiving and public history. She has directed several projects of digital archiving, including  Privy Council Papers, which is an important resource for research into British imperial and colonial history, and Lawforms, a fully transcribed, translated and annotated collection of legal documents from India and the Indian Ocean, written in Persian and various Indian languages. This innovative teaching and research tool aspires to be a people's archive of the Mughal Empire, and is a profound achievement for the Digital Humanities.


Prof. Chatterjee is currently directing a project called Cast in Stone, which examines colonial memorials, especially public statuary Britain and France, and has worked as historical consultant to an important community engagement and reinterpretation project at St. Paul's Cathedral, London.

The Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies looks forward to Prof Chatterjee joining us in September where she will be a fellow of St. Cross College.

On her appointment, Prof. Chatterjee says: ‘It is a great honour to take up the Professorship of Indian History and Culture at the University of Oxford. In this role, I aspire to critically research, teach and celebrate the varied cultures of the Indian subcontinent and its many diasporas. I also intend to participate in ongoing efforts to decolonise the curriculum and to explore what this might mean, specifically, for the study of the history and culture of the Indian subcontinent.’


The Faculty eagerly anticipates Prof Chatterjee's contribution to our academic community, confident that her expertise and innovative approach will greatly enhance our understanding of Indian history and culture.


The Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies gratefully acknowledges the generosity of the Indian government in endowing the Chair in Indian History and Culture.