We've mentioned him often on the blog recently because of his award-winning book, A People’s Constitution: Law and Everyday Life in the Indian Republic (Princeton University Press). The book challenges the conventional narrative of the Indian Constitution of 1950 by showing what it meant to ordinary people, including those on the margins of society. Other scholarship has appeared in the Law & History Review, Modern Asian Studies, and The Oxford Handbook to the Indian Constitution, among other venues.
According to his faculty bio, Professor De's current research has two major strands: "the histories of political lawyering and the nature of the postcolonial state in South Asia." Representative of the first is a project supported by a grant from the Social Science Research Council, on mid-twentieth-century events conventionally understood as “national political trials”--in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Seychelles, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, British Guyana and the United Kingdom. He argues that these events "were produced by, and as part of, a transnational movement for civil liberties." The second strand of research encompasses a project on India's "disciplining of the economy through criminal law in the 1960s and 70s," as well as in a collective biography of the women in the Indian Constituent Assembly. Current works-in-progress include “The Flying Q.C: The Postcolonial Career of D.N. Pritt and the Jurisprudence of Decolonization” (under review), “The Value of Bull Shit: The Juridical Invention of Bovine Value” (under review), and “Between Midnight and Republic: Theory and Practice of India’s Dominion Status” (under review).
Professor De's teaching has included courses on South Asian history; Indian constitutional culture and political thought; global legal history; law and colonialism; and the legal profession.
Welcome, Rohit De!
-- Karen Tani