Arvind Elangovan, Ph.D.

Sch of Humanities & Cult. Studies
Professor, History Associate Chair of SoHCS
Allyn Hall 425, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy, Dayton, OH 45435-0001


PhD: History Department, The University of Chicago, 2012

MPhil: Center for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 2003

Research Interests: 

Political and Constitutional history of South Asia, 19th and 20th centuries, Nationalism, Colonialism, Comparative Decolonization, Postcolonial India, History of Political Thought, and Social Movements. 



Norms and Politics: Sir Benegal Narsing Rau in the Making of the Indian Constitution, 1935-1950, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2019.


"A Political Turn? New Developments in Indian Constitutional Histories", History Compass, Vol. 20, Issue 8. 2022.

“Rethinking Indian Constitutional History” – an essay in honor of Prof. Dipesh Chakrabarty in Dipesh Chakrabarty and the Global South: Subaltern Studies, Postcolonial Perspectives and the Anthropocene, edited by Saurabh Dube, Sanjay Sheth, and Ajay Skaria, Routledge, London and New York, 2019, pp, 29-32.

"Constitutionalism as Discipline: Benegal Shiva Rao and the Forgotten Histories of the Indian Constitution" in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies. Published online: August 02, 2018.

" 'We the People?': Politics and the conundrum of framing a constitution on the eve of decolonisation" in Udit Bhatia ed. The Indian Constituent Assembly: Deliberations on Democracy, Routledge, London and New York, 2018, pp. 10-37. 

"Social Movements in India, 1800 to the Present" in Stefan Berger and Holger Nehring (eds) The History of Social Movements in Global Perspective: A Survey, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2017, pp. 265-295.

"Provincial Autonomy, Sir Benegal Narsing Rau and an Improbable Imagination of Constitutionalism in India, 1935-38" in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Vol. 36, No. 1, 2016, pp. 66-82.

"Constitutionalism, Political Exclusion, and Implications for Indian Constitutional History: The Case of Montagu Chelmsford Reforms (1919)" in South Asian History and Culture. Vol.7, Issue 03, 2016. pp. 271-288. 

" 'The Road Not Taken': Sir Benegal Narsing Rau and the Indian Constitution," in Decolonization and the Politics of Transition in South Asia, edited by Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, Orient Blackswan Publishers, Hyderabad, 2016. pp. 141-159.

"The Making of the Indian Constitution: A Case for a Non-Nationalist Approach," History Compass, Vol. 12, Issue No. 1, 2014, pp. 1-10. 

Podcast Interviews:

Ideas of India: Tensions with the Indian Constitution. Date Released: January 20th, 2022. (Interview by Shruti Rajagopalan, Mercatus Center, George Mason University

Road to Independence: The Years of Constitutionalism. Date Released: August 13th, 2022. (Interview by Prashant Jha, Hindustan Times)

Book Reviews

Climate Change and the Human Condition, A review of The Climate of History in a Planetary Age (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2021; Delhi: Primus Books, 2021) in Economic and Political Weekly, Vol LVI No. 31, July 31, 2021, pp. 26-28.

A People's Constitution: The Everyday Life of Law in the Indian Republic (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2018) in Law and History Review, Vol. 37, Issue No. 04, 2019, pp. 961-963

Surkh Salam Communism in Pakistan: Politics and Class Activism, 1947-1972 (I B Tauris, London and New York, 2015) in, July 2016 -

Die in Battle, Do Not Despair: The Indians on Gallipoli, 1915 (Hellon and Company) by Peter Stanley in The Journal of Military History, Vol. 80. No. 3, 2016 pp. 912-914. 

The Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012) by Ananya Vajpeyi in The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 72, Issue 02, May 2013, pp. 493-494. 

His Majesty's Opponent: Subhas Chandra Bose and India's Struggle Against Empire (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011) by Sugata Bose in Left History, 16.1, Spring/Summer 2012, pp. 143-144. 

Caste, Colonialism and Counter Modernity: Notes on a Postcolonial Hermeneutic of Caste, (London: Routledge, 2005) by Debjani Ganguly in Postcolonial Studies, Vol. 12, 1, March 2009, pp. 131-135. 

Miscellaneous (November 30, 2020) (January 21, 2020)

"Does the Indian Constitution Speak for a Nation?" a post on Kafila -

"Freedom from fear and the fear of freedom: Ambedkar and the Constitution", Frontline, Vol. 32, Issue No. 09, May 15, 2015

"Granville Austin: Interpreter of a Constitution," An obituary, Frontline, Vol. 31, Issue No. 15, August 8, 2014. 

"Race too, after all, along with Gender," a post on Kafila -

Teaching (selective)

Survey course on South Asia, 1500 to the present

M K Gandhi and the Modern World

Nationalism in the "Third World", 1800 to the present

Historical Methods (Senior Seminar)

Historiography (Graduate Course)

Modern Indian Political Thought, 19th and 20th centuries. 


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