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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, with particular expertise in Islamicate identities and 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 a contributor to the site KashmirConnected.  She received a PhD in History from Tufts University.

Her latest book is entitled Kashmir: Oxford India Short Introductions (2019). 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). 

Her most recent research monograph, entitled Kashmir’s Contested Pasts: Narratives, Sacred Geographies, and the Historical Imagination, was published in 2014 by Oxford University Press (paperback 2017).  Through an intertextual reading of Sanskrit, Persian, Kashmiri, and Urdu oral and textual narratives, the book examines the articulation of multiple ideas of Kashmir and historicity within Kashmir’s multilingual tradition of historical composition from the sixteenth century to the present. The book 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, entitled Languages of Belonging: Islam, Regional Identity, and the Making of Kashmir, was published by Permanent Black, New Delhi (2003); Hurst & Co., London (2004); and Oxford University Press, New York (2004).  The paperback edition was published in 2011 by Permanent Black, New Delhi.  It is now available in Kindle and at the Apple Bookstore.  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 (2014-15) for her current book project, a biography of the controversial Kashmiri leader, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah.  A winner of the 2014 Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence at William & Mary, she also serves on the International Advisory Board of South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies and is currently a board member of the American Institute of Indian Studies.

She teaches a variety of courses on South Asian history and the British Empire, including “The Indian Ocean World,” “War and Peace in Postcolonial South Asia,” “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,” “Gandhi: Memory and Representation,” “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.