German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2050
Fax: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2055 / 7404 5573


calendar & information

Breadcrumb navigation:

Dr Indra Sengupta

Indra Sengupta re-joined the German Historical Institute in 2012 as Academic Coordinator of the Transnational Research Group Poverty Reduction and Policy for the Poor between the State and Private Actors: Education Policy in India since the Nineteenth Century. She holds a PhD in History from Heidelberg University. Her research interests include the production and practice of knowledge on India in colonial India and Europe, German Orientalism, and monument-making practices in colonial India. Her current research is on monument making in late colonial India, incorporating local, colonial, and metropolitan perspectives.

Current Responsibilities at the GHIL

Head of India Research Programme at the GHIL and Head of the India Branch Office of the Max Weber Stiftung, New Delhi

Research Interests

The production and practice of knowledge on India in colonial India and Europe, German Orientalism, and monument-making practices in colonial India. 

Current Research

Preserving India’s Past: Law, Bureaucracy and Historical Conservation in Colonial India 1904-1925

Academic Background
1980-1986 BA (Hons.) and MA in History, Presidency College, University of Calcutta
1983-1984 BEd, University of Calcutta
1987-1988 Senior Teacher in History and Political Science, La Martiniere for Girls, Calcutta
1988-1999 Lecturer in History and BEd (History), Loreto College, University of Calcutta
1997-1999 DAAD Visiting Fellow, South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg
1999-2002 DPhil (Modern History), University of Heidelberg
2002-2003 Research Fellow (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin), DFG-Orissa Research Project, University of Tübingen
2003-2004 Lecturer (part-time), South Asia Institute, Unviersity of Heidelberg
2004-2011 Research Fellow in the History of Colonialism, German Historical Institute London
2011 Temporary Professor of History, Centre for Modern Indian Studies, University of Göttingen (substitution for Prof. Ravi Ahuja)
2011-2012 Visiting Fellow, Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”, University of Heidelberg
Scholarships and Prizes
1984-1986 Merit scholarship of the University Grants Commission, India
1997-1999 DAAD research scholarship


From Salon to Discipline: State, University and Indology in Germany, 1821–1914 (Heidelberg, 2005)

Edited Volumes
Memory, History, and Colonialism: Engaging with Pierre Nora in Colonial and Postcolonial Contexts, Bulletin of the German Historical Institute London, Supplement 1 (2009)

(jointly with Daud Ali) Knowledge Production, Pedagogy, and Institutions in Colonial India (New York, 2011)

Selected recent articles
‘Preservation between empire, nation and nationalisms: the problem of history and heritage in India’ inguest ed. Mark Thatcher, themed section on The state and historic buildings: preserving ‘the national past’, in Nations and Nationalism 24 (1), 2018, 110–130

‘Law, Religion, Heritage: Preservation in Late Colonial India. The Problem of the Thatta Mosque’, in ed. Joaquim R. Santos, Preserving Transcultural Heritage: Your Way or my Way? Vale de Cambra, 2017, 647-55;

Culture-keeping as State Action: Bureaucrats, Administrators, and Monuments in Colonial India, in Past and Present 226 (2015), suppl. 10, 153-177

Monument Preservation and the Vexing Question of Religious Structures in Colonial India, in From Plunder to Preservation. Britain and the Heritage of Empire, c. 1800-1940, eds. Astrid Swenson and Peter Mandler, Oxford, 2013, 171-85

“A Conservation Code for the Colony: John Marshall’s Conservation Manual and Monument Preservation between India and Europe”, in Archaeologizing Heritage?, eds. Michael Falser and Monica Juneja, Berlin, 2013, 21-37

Orientalism zwischen Kooperation und Konkurrenz: Eine Kulturgesichte der altindischen Handschriften, in (eds.) Heidrun Brückner and Karin Steiner, 200 Jahre Indienforschung: Geschichte(n), Netzwerke, Diskurse, 2012, 7-26

Sacred space and the making of monuments in colonial Orissa, in H.R. Ray (ed.) Archaeology and Text: The Temple in South Asia, OUP, New Delhi, 2009, 168-188

Locating lieux de mémoire: A (Post)colonial Perspective. Introduction to Memory, history and colonialism. Engaging with Pierre Nora in colonial and postcolonial contexts. Supplement of the Bulletin of GHI London, No. 1, 2009, 1-8

Colonial Lives across the British Empire. Imperial Careering in the Long Nineteenth Century. (Eds.) David Lambert und Alan Lester, 2006. In SEHEPUNKTE, Nr. 7/8, 2007

“Orientalism and the German Predicament”. Review article of (Ed.) Lee M. Roberts, Germany and the Imagined East, Newcastle, 2005; Todd Kontje, German Orientalisms, Ann Arbor, 2004, Sabine Mangold, Eine "weltbürgerliche Wissenschaft" – Die Deutsche Orientalistik im 19. Jahrhundert, Stuttgart, 2004. In Bulletin of the German Historical Institute London, May 2008, 35-53