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 between Empires: Pilgrimage and Political Culture after the Mughals, 1739-1857 (under contract, Cambridge University Press), explores South Asian traffic to the Middle East between the decline of the Mughal state and the consolidation of British colonialism. It reveals how Indian Muslims leveraged their experiences and exchanges as pilgrims in Arabia and the wider 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 across the Indian Ocean. 

I am currently working on a new project. A social microhistory centered on a zamindari (landlord) family, with this research I hope also to learn more about the genealogies of Muslim mass politics in colonial Bengal.

My work has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the Library of Congress. My previous and upcoming publications include essays in The Indian Economic and Social History ReviewModern Asian Studies, and Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

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 examine historical traditions of religious mobility in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas with interdisciplinary insights from anthropology, social theory, literature, and art history.

Spring 2022

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

Fall 2022

Cultures and Peoples of Ancient India — HIST 162
Introduction to Historical Methods — HIST 299