Rishad Choudhury ’07

  • Assistant Professor of History


  • PhD, history, Cornell University, 2015
  • MA, history, Cornell University, 2012
  • BA, history, Oberlin College, 2007


I am a historian of South Asia and the Indian Ocean. 

My upcoming book, Hajj across Empires: Pilgrimage and Political Culture after the Mughals, 1739-1857 (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press, 2023), explores the history of South Asian religious traffic to the Middle East between the decline of the Mughal empire and the consolidation of British colonial rule in the Indian Subcontinent. The study reveals how South Asian Muslims leveraged their experiences and exchanges as pilgrims in Arabia and the Ottoman world to respond to the crisis of an Islamic old regime, and how the trans-imperial ties they forged became implicated in imperial revolutions around the Indian Ocean.

I am currently working on a new project. Focusing on a colonial zamindari (landlord) family from Bengal, with this research I hope also to learn more about the genealogies of Muslim mass politics under the Raj. 

I have held research positions at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the Library of Congress. My recent and upcoming publications include essays in The Indian Economic and Social History ReviewModern Asian StudiesComparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East and Itinerario

At Oberlin, I teach courses on South Asia, the British empire, and the Indian Ocean. In a freshman writing seminar, “Pilgrimage in Global History,” students and I survey historical traditions of votive mobility in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas with interdisciplinary insights from anthropology, social theory, literary studies, and art history.

Spring 2023

Modern South Asia — HIST 163
Sacred and Secular in an Islamic Republic: Pakistan — HIST 265
Muslim Politics in Modern South Asia — HIST 371

Fall 2023

Premodern India — HIST 162
Connections beyond Colonialism: Global Histories of the Global South — HIST 456