Rohit Dutta Roy
Rohit Dutta Roy is a historian of modern South Asia. He is founding faculty in the History department at the School of Liberal Studies. Rohit has been a Cambridge International Trust doctoral scholar at the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge. Before embarking on his doctoral project at Cambridge, Rohit completed a first-class MPhil in History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, a first-class MA in History from the University of Delhi, and first-class BA and MA degrees in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University. His academic work focuses on politico-intellectual history, applied history and public policies informing disciplines, institutions, and identity formation.
As an archivist and editor of the Indian webzine cum people’s archive GloCal Charcha (glocalcharcha.in), Rohit has recorded craftspeople and their traditions, focusing on inter-generational knowledge transfer among artisanal communities. His public writings revolve around the everyday political, and how it informs scholarship, political formulations, and governmentality. His bylines have appeared in Indian English and bilingual dailies, including The Wire, Newslaundry, the Citizen, etc.
At the School of Liberal Studies, Rohit is the program leader for History, and co-lead for the flagship B.Sc. in History and Politics - joint undergraduate research degree program in Political Science and History. He also heads the ‘Education’ cluster, and is co-convenor of the Archival Ideation Lab, and SoLS’ inaugural Lecture Series. He is also a mentor at SoLS student-led co-curricular platform for roundtables on ideas and policies – Swapaksha, the Philosophical Society.
Areas of Interests: Applied and Public History, Pedagogy and History Education, Policy History, History of Ideas
Teaching: Historical Research Methods and Philosophies, Politico-Intellectual Histories of South Asia, Decolonisation, Indian Nationalism, Technology and Material Cultures
- Associate Lecturer at Jesus College, Cambridge, for the undergraduate course “World History since 1914”, from Jan to June 2022
- Editor for GloCal Charcha, an Indian Webzine covering Arts, Culture, and Political Affairs, besides being a people’s archive recording artisanal crafts, since Feb 2020
- General Editor, Journal of Studies in History & Culture (JSHC), since March 2014
- Associate Lecturer at the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, from October 2019 to March 2022. Courses taught: Historical Approaches and Practice, Migration and Time
- Graduate Supervisions at Pembroke College Cambridge, December 2021
- Associate Lecturer for Target Oxbridge and Pembroke College, Cambridge, April 2018. Course: Philosophy of History & historiography through the ages
- Story Scholar cum Oral Historian with the 1947 Partition Archive, Berkeley, California. June 2016 – June 2017.
History of Modern South Asia | Applied and Public History | Pedagogy and History Education | Policy History | History of Ideas
One of Rohit’s first major publications looked at Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi (1887-1971). Munshi was not just a libertarian conservative politician but had also served in the first Jawaharlal Nehru government as food and agriculture minister and had founded the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Currently, Rohit is engaged in writing K M Munshi's biography, based on his research, using official records, private papers, etc. He is also finalising drafts of two working papers. One of which is on Nehruvian government’s management of the sugar crisis in 1952, and the other on a pedagogical framework for historical studies in Indian classrooms, trying to mediate right-wing concerns of ‘silences’ in earlier formal histories, and liberal and left-wing concerns of ‘erasures’ in current textbooks.
Rohit uses interdisciplinary research methods and works on sources from multiple Indian languages. His teaching and pedagogic tools reflect this attempt at bridging the gap between disciplines, languages, and cultures. Besides primary textual sources and government records, Rohit uses private papers including diaries and journals, and numismatic and philatelic objects, to train students in the historian’s craft. For Rohit, a history educator’s role, beyond curricular instruction, is twofold. The priority is to ensure undergrads can dispel misinformation by understanding academic histories as distinctly separate from spurious narratives, and yet capable of recording multiplicities. Secondly, Rohit trains his students not just for academia, but in public history as well. This enables them to acknowledge the violent ruptures of India’s past and build intersectional futures of solidarity and syncretism.
School of Liberal Studies’ Foundational Course: Ideas of India (3 credits)
Research Methods in History: Approaches to Historical Research (3 credits)
Gandhian approaches to Peace and Conflict Studies (3 Credits)
Radicalisms and Revolutions: Perspectives from the Global South (3 Credits)
History of Ideas (South Asia) c. 1500 BC to 1947 (3 credits)
Class and Caste in Indian History (3 credits)
From Rebellion to the Struggle for Freedom, 1857 - 1947 (3 credits)
Global Migration and Citizenship (3 Credits)
Indian Political Thought, c. 3rd Century BCE - 1963 (3 Credits)
Applied History, Public Policy and Pedagogy: History of Education in India and contemporary challenges (3 Credits)
East - West Transactions in Global Intellectual History and Political Philosophy (3 Credits)
History of Democracy and Democratic Institutions, c. 600 BCE - 1950 (3 Credits)
Awards and Grants
- Dr Lightfoot's Grant and Prize, University of Cambridge (Jan 2022)
- Prince Consort & Member's History Grant, University of Cambridge (Nov 2021)
- Cambridge Political Economy Society Grant from the Cambridge Political Economy Society Grant (Jul 2021)
- Holland Rose Grant, University of Cambridge (Apr 2019)
- Cambridge Commonwealth, European & International Trust PhD Scholarship from the Cambridge Commonwealth, European & International Trust (Oct 2017)
- Travel and Workshop Presentation Award from the Indian Council of Social Science Research (Jun 2016)
- Fieldwork and Research Grant from the Indian Council of Historical Research (May 2016)
- Qualified for Assistant Professorship in History, through the National Eligibility Test (NET), conducted by the Indian University Grants Commission (UGC)
At Cambridge, Rohit was the founding President of the Cambridge South Asia Forum (CAMSAF), a forum for dialogue on South Asian politics and policy, which continues to host parliamentarians, national advisors, bureaucrats, environmental activists, and other changemakers. Rohit has presented his research at Duke University, University of Cambridge, Brown University, Columbia University, University of Edinburgh, Cornell University, University of Chicago, University of Exeter, University of Leiden, Harvard University, University of Toronto, and various Central Universities and IITs in India. He is the Chief Editor of the Journal of Studies in History and Culture (JSHC) and convenor of the Political History Collective. His research papers and review essays have been published by Orient Blackswan and various University Press Journals. Rohit is currently working on a project interrogating access to education and citizenship identifiers among Van Gujjar communities in Uttarakhand. In the classroom, he continues to emphasize the role historians can play in policymaking.
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