I am a historian of South Asia. I work on law and cultural exchanges in the British and Mughal empires - with particular attention to religious identities, family formation, and the styling of selves. My first book was on the shaping on the minority religious community of Indian Christians, through legal, political, racial and theological contests over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
I then moved on to looking at law in the broader context of the British Empire, and especially at the role of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, erstwhile final court of appeal of the British empire, and a hub of legal, social and cultural interactions with empire-wide implications. From this research I grew interested in the role and place of Islamic law in the British Empire - including Anglo-Muhammadan law, eminent Muslim judges, and key cases involving either or both. In collaboration with Dr Charlotte Smith of Reading University, I have created an online catalogue of historic Privy Council papers.
Subsequently, my interests have moved further back in time, and I am now interested in asking similar questions about law, culture and religion with relation to the early modern Islamic and Persian-writing world. I am currently working on a five-year ERC-funded project on Persian and bi-lingual legal documents from India, Iran and the northern Indian Ocean, which will look closely at forms, formulae and formularies, written in Persian, and in other associated languages. The project is called Forms of Law in the early modern Persianate World, 17th-19th centuries.
Together with Dr Gill Juleff, I am director of the Exeter Centre for South Asia.
Read more at https://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/history/staff/chatterjee/#hoeFCZKQLc0c8Uzg.99