Vikram Visana


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

South Asian History; Imperial History; Global History; History of Political Thought.

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1 Last updated 12 October 2020.


Dr Vikram Visana is Senior Lecturer in South Asian and Global History with a particular focus on political thought. He was awarded his PhD in the history of Indian Political Thought under the supervision of Chris Bayly at the University of Cambridge in 2016. He has taught at the University of Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Global History, Freie Universität Berlin.

Vikram currently teaches on the first-year module 'Britons Abroad, 1500-2000', is module leader for the second-year modules 'Modern India: From Raj to Independence', 'Historical Research Skills', and the final-year research-led module 'India's "Tryst with Destiny": the Making and Remaking of the World's Largest Democracy'. Vikram is also module leader for the 'Learning Lessons: The Holocaust and Comparative Genocides' topic on the Holocaust and Genocide Studies MA.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Indian Political Thought/Theory
  • Global Intellectual History from 19th century to present

Vikram's research focuses on Indian political thought and theory from the nineteenth century to the present in an effort to demonstrate the intellectual contribution of the Global South to our common "modernity". To date, Vikram has published on Indian iterations of liberalism, republicanism, conservatism, sovereignty, peoplehood, and political economy.

Vikram's forthcoming book, Uncivil Liberalism: Labour, Capital and Commercial Society in Dadabhai Naoroji's Political Thought is based on his doctoral research. This new history of Indian liberalism reconstructs the global political thought of one of colonial India’s most influential thinkers, Dadabhai Naoroji. An academic, social reformer, businessman and liberal thinker-politician, Naoroji’s ‘drain theory’ of colonial exploitation became synonymous with the economic exploitation of empire. In its day, it was among the most widely read and influential accounts detailing how colonial rule systematically impoverished the Subcontinent. As a solution, Naoroji preached Indianisation of the colonial bureaucracy and self-government under British paramountcy in 1906. He was also the first non-white parliamentarian elected to the British House of Commons in 1892. This book offers a radically new account of Naoroji, not as an Indian nationalist, but as a global liberal thinker who offered a new theory for how culturally diverse populations might achieve civil peace and solidarity through imperial reform and economic emancipation.

On going research, funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grant, reconsiders Indian right-wing thought in its global context. The research seeks to trace the distinct intellectual genealogies of Hindu nationalism and Hindu conservatism from the late nineteenth to the late twentieth century. The research proposes to show where these distinct ideologies diverge conceptually but also where they overlap in the shaping of Indian political practice. An initial publication from this project has appeared in Modern Intellectual History with further outputs planned for prominent historical and area studies journals. This work constitutes Vikram's second book project.

A smaller project is also underway that seeks to globalise the intellectual history of Indian architecture and design by examining the modernist theory and career of Charles Correa.

Vikram is currently supervising postgraduate projects on:

Indian Political Thought

South Asian Film in Britain

Histories of BAME migration to the UK and British multiculturalism

Research Expertise and Interests

  • World History
  • Imperial History
  • South Asia
  • Political Thought
  • Intellectual History
  • India
  • Global History
  • 19th Century
  • 20th century
  • Liberalism
  • Conservatism
  • Hindu Nationalism


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