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Chitralekha Zutshi

Class of 1962 Professor, History

Office: Blair 306
Email: [[cxzuts]]
Regional Areas of Research: South Asia and the Indian Ocean
Thematic Areas of Research: Islam, Imperialism and Colonialism, Historiography and Historical Memory, Nationalism and National Identity, British Empire, and Cultural/Intellectual History


Chitralekha Zutshi specializes in Modern South Asia and the Indian Ocean World, with particular expertise in Islamicate identities and political culture, nationalism and national movements, and historical thought and practice. She has spoken and published widely on the interrelationships among these ideas in the context of Kashmir. Her articles have appeared in The Journal of Asian Studies, Modern Asian Studies, The Indian Economic and Social History Review, and Economic and Political Weekly, among other journals. She is also an occasional contributor to the site KashmirConnected and other news sites. She received a PhD in History from Tufts University.

Her latest book, Sheikh Abdullah: The Caged Lion of Kashmir, a biography of the controversial Kashmiri leader, was recently published by HarperCollins India in its prestigious “Indian Lives” series (2024). The Yale University Press edition of the book will be released in summer 2024. The book has been reviewed widely and has been at the top of the bestseller lists for non-fiction since its release. Watch her discussing the book on The Federal and Aaj Tak Radio.

Her previous books include Kashmir: Oxford India Short Introductions (2019) and Kashmir’s Contested Pasts: Narratives, Sacred Geographies, and the Historical Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2014; paperback 2017), which received the Honorable Mention for the Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize from the Association for Asian Studies (2016), and was longlisted for the International Convention of Asia Scholars Book Prize (2015). Her first book, Languages of Belonging: Islam, Regional Identity, and the Making of Kashmir, was published in 2003/2004 by Permanent Black (paperback 2011), Hurst & Co., and Oxford University Press. It is now available in Kindle and at the Apple Bookstore. She has also edited a collection of cutting-edge, interdisciplinary scholarly articles on the region and issue of Kashmir, entitled Kashmir: History, Politics, Representation (Cambridge University Press, 2018). Read her discussing her scholarship on W&M News and India Today.

Several fellowships have supported her research over the years, including the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2005-2006), the Kluge Fellowship at the Library of Congress (2008), and a Senior Research fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies (2014-2015). A winner of the 2014 Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence and two endowed professorships at William & Mary, she also serves on the International Advisory Board of South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies.

She teaches a variety of courses on South Asian history, Empire, and the Indian Ocean, including “Indian Ocean Worlds,” “War and Peace in Postcolonial South Asia,” “Gandhi in the World,” “History of South Asia,” “Islam and Politics in South Asia,” “Kashmir: Past, Present, and Future,” “Colonialism, Nationalism, and Modernity in South Asia,” “Nation, Gender, and Race in British India,” “Bollywood and the Making of Modern India,” “Empires and Imperialism,” and “Transnational Environmental History.” She is the founder of the University’s summer study abroad program in Goa/Bengaluru, India, which she directed in 2005 and 2013.  She has also served as the Co-Director of the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Program and the Director of W&M’s Washington DC Semester Program on the theme of “Nation-Building and Conflict-Resolution in Asia.”

Complete C.V.