My dissertation, “Questions of Faith: Christianity, Conversion and the Ideological Origins of Political Theology in Colonial India, 1813-1907”, is the first work in forty years to examine Christian evangelism in Bengal using archival evidence from sources such as vernacular Bengali broadsheets, pamphlets, court cases, probates and newspapers at multiple archives in the UK, India and Bangladesh. It has been generally argued that it is Islam against which a Hindu majoritarian political identity took shape in British India. The secularization of a discourse of the Hindu majoritarian identity as the true bearer of the nationalist discourse, and the legitimate inheritor of the political legacies of India, did emerge through the opposition to what was forcibly constructed as the “Other” to the imagined community of Indians. However, in my research I contend that in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, it was the native Christian converts who acted as this oppositional “Other” to the Indian communities of faith professing Hinduism or Islam. Using the liminal figure of the Indian Christian convert and the intellectual discourses on identity-politics that emerged around this lonely and vilified figure, I demonstrate the problem inherent in a colonial sociology of knowledge, which insisted on only one religious identity that could be used in claiming certain political, social and economic rights from the colonial state. Thus, my dissertation is an intellectual and political history of the creation of the Indian political self - a self that emerged through an often-oppositional relationship with evangelical Christianity and the apologetic debates arising out of such engagements.
I was a co-recipient of the Harold K. Gross award for my thesis, which is granted annually by the faculty of the History Department at Harvard to the graduate student whose dissertation ‘gave greatest promise of a distinguished career of historical research.”
In 2017-18, I co-taught the graduate teaching practicum for third year graduate students in the History Department at Harvard, with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), Prof. Alison Johnson. The course was designed to help those who will be acting as first-time teaching assistants for many undergraduate lecture and seminar courses at Harvard. With Dr. Carla Heelan, the Assistant director of Undergraduate Studies (ADUS), I also co-taught the undergraduate senior thesis tutorial for the History Department.
I taught the course "SAS 182: Religion and Politics:India, 1800-2010", in the Spring semester of 2018 at Harvard.
At Clemson, in the Fall Semester of 2018, I offer a survey undergraduate course, History 3350: South Asia, 1500-present. I also offer an upper-level conference course, suitable for both advanced undergraduates and graduate students, History 4940: Religion and Politics, India 1800-2018.
In the Spring Semester, I will offer a survey course of the post-colonial nations of South Asia, tentatively titled "A Subcontinent of Nationalities". I will also offer a conference course "Mahatma Gandhi and a Global History of Non-Violence".