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. (http://www.histecon.magd.cam.ac.uk/history-law/index.html)
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.
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
- “A Peripatetic World Court” Cosmopolitan Courts, Nationalist Judges and the Indian Appeal to the Privy Council.” Law and History Review 32, no. 04 (2014): 821-851.
- “Rebellion, Dacoity, and Equality The Emergence of the Constitutional Field in Postcolonial India.“ Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 34, no. 2 (2014): 260-278.
- “‘Commodities must be controlled’: Economic Crimes and Market Discipline in India (1939–1955).” International Journal of Law in Context 10, no. 03 (2014): 277-294.
- “The Federal Court and Civil Liberties in Late Colonial India” in T. Halliday, L. Karpik, M. Feeley (eds.)Fates of Political Liberalism in the British Post-Colony: The Politics of the Legal Complex (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012) pp.59-90
- “Beyond the Social Contract“ Seminar Magazine: Special Issue on 60 years of the Indian Constitution, November 2010
- “The Two Husbands of Vera Tiscenko: Apostasy, Conversion and Divorce in Late Colonial India” 28 (4) Law and History Review (2010) pp.1011-1041
- “Mumtaz Bibi’s Broken Heart: The Many Lives of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939” 46:1 Indian Economic and Social History Review ( 2009) pp.105-130 (Co-author)
- Co-author, “Introduction: Personal Law, Identity Politics and Civil Society in Colonial South Asia” 46:1Indian Economic and Social History Review ( 2009) pp.1-4
Reviews, Opinion Pieces and Miscellany
- “Litigation”, R.Dwyer, G. Dharmpal Frick, J.Phalkey and M. Kirloskar-Steinbach (eds.) Keywords in Modern Indian Studies (Oxford University Press, New Delhi, forthcoming 2015).
- “Tools of Justice: Non‐discrimination and the Indian Constitution. By Kalpana Kannabiran. New Delhi: Routledge, 2012. 505 pp. Rs 995, $105.00 cloth.“ Law & Society Review 48, no. 3 (2014): 687-689.
- “What Didi Wants: The Case for a Federal Front”, The Indian Express, April 22, 2014
- “Who Moved my Beef: Regulatory Changes and the Pink Revolution”, Hindu Business Line, November 18, 2013
- “Personal Laws: A Reality Check”, Frontline, September 16, 2013
- “Jurist’s Prudence: The Indian Supreme Court’s Response to Institutional Challenges”, ICONNECT Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law, Dec 12, 2012
- “Civil and Uncivil Codes”, India in Transition Series, Centre for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania, Jan 2012
- “Mirror Images”, The Indian Express, 29th August, 2009
Field(s) 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