Rohit De

Rohit De's picture
Assistant Professor
HGS 2680
Fields of interest: 

Modern South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), Global Legal History, Law and Society, Law and Colonialism, British Empire, Nationalism and Decolonization in Asia and Africa, Comparative Constitutionalism

Rohit De is a historian of modern South Asia and is particularly interested in legal history. 
Rohit received his Ph.D from Princeton University, where he was elected to the Society of Woodrow Wilson Scholars. His dissertation won the Law and Society Association Prize in 2013. He was the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for History and Economics and at Trinity Hall at the University of Cambridge before coming to Yale in 2014.  Rohit received his law degrees from the Yale Law School and the National Law School of India University, Bangalore.
Rohit is currently completing a book that explores how the Indian constitution, despite its elite authorship and alien antecedents, came to permeate everyday life and imagination in India during its transition from a colonial state to a democratic republic. Mapping the use and appropriation of constitutional language and procedure by diverse groups such as butchers and sex workers, street vendors and petty businessmen, journalists and women social workers, it offers a constitutional history from below.
His other research projects include charting how constitutional ideas circulated through postcolonial nations of Asia and Africa, the emergence of the idea of an economic crime in India and investigating the impact of the partition of the Indian subcontinent on property regimes in India and Pakistan.
Rohit is also interested in comparative constitutional law. He has assisted Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan of the Supreme Court of India and worked on constitution reform projects in Nepal and Sri Lanka. He is an Associate Research Scholar in Law at the Yale Law School and the co-curator of the History and the Law digital archive. (
Rohit teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in South Asian history; postcolonial histories of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh; on Indian constitutional culture and political thought, as well as courses on global legal history, law and colonialism and law and society.

Selected Publications

Works in Progress
  • Litigious Citizens, Constitutional Law and Everyday Life in the Indian Republic (Manuscript under preparation)
  • “Constitutional Antecedents” in The Oxford Handbook to the Indian Constitution, Sujit Choudhary, Madhav Khosla and Pratap Bhanu Mehta eds.,(New York: Oxford University Press, 2015)
Articles and Chapters

Reviews, Opinion Pieces and Miscellany

Indian Ocean
South Asia
Empires & Colonialism
Race & Ethnicity