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Faculty and Staff

Nandini Bhattacharya
Associate Professor

Nandini Bhattacharya is Associate Professor in South Asian history and history of medicine. She trained in JNU (Delhi) for her first degrees in History and completed her PhD at University College London. Her expertise is in the histories of colonial science and medicine, urban history, and modern histories of consumption, within the broader paradigm of modern South Asian history. She has taught history of medicine at Yale University, urban history at University of Leicester, and global history at University of Dundee prior to her appointment at UH. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.


Her research queries have focused on the intersection of the state, colonial society, and the politics of science and medicine in modern India. Her first monograph, Contagion and Enclaves: Tropical Medicine in Colonial India (2012) was the first scholarly work to historicize hill stations and tea plantations as colonial enclaves in modern India. It highlighted how two different colonial habitations were entangled in medical, official, and entrepreneurial policy and praxis to fundamentally transform the ecology and society of the eastern Himalayas.

Her current research projects include a Wellcome Trust funded history of the pharmaceutical industry in modern India. Her second monograph is based on this project and titled Disparate Remedies: Making Medicines in Modern India. Her other research interests include the social history of alcohol and comparative histories of migrant labor in the global South. Her research and pedagogy has been supported by several institutions including the Wellcome Trust (UK), Carnegie Trust (UK), Leverhulme Trust (UK), and the Science History Institute (USA).



  • Contagion and Enclaves: Tropical Medicine in Colonial India, Postcolonial Studies series (Liverpool University Press, 2012).

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles:

  • "Imperial Sanctuaries: the Hill Stations of Colonial South Asia," in Harald Fischer-Tine and Maria Framke (ed), Routledge Handbook of the History of Colonialism in South Asia (August 2021).
  • "The Problem of Alcohol in Colonial India (c. 1907–1942)," Studies in History 2 (2017): 187-212. 
  • "Between the Bazaar and the Bench: Making of the Drugs Trade in Colonial India, ca. 1900–1930," Bulletin of the History of Medicine 1 (2016): 61-91.
  • "From Materia Medica to the Pharmacopeia: Challenges of Writing the History of Drugs in India," History Compass 4 (2016): 131-139.
  • "Leisure, economy and colonial urbanism: Darjeeling, 1835–1930," Urban History 3 (2013): 442-461.
  • "The Logic of Location: Malaria Research in Colonial India, Darjeeling and Duars, 1900– 30," Medical History 2 (2011): 183-202.