Research Fellow









Dr Nitin Sinha


Current Position | Past Employment | Education | Awards & Grants | Publications | Op-ed and Social Media | Editorial Duty | Courses Taught | Conference Attendance | Membership and Organization | Languages

Current Position

2015-: Senior Research Fellow, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (Centre for Modern Oriental Studies), Berlin.

Past Employment

2012-15: Lecturer in Modern History, Department of History, University of York, UK.

2008–2012: Research Fellow, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (Centre for Modern Oriental Studies), Berlin. Project title: ‘The Ganga: Landscape, community, religion, 1760s–1960s’.

2011–12: Visiting Lectureship in Modern South Asia, South Asia Institute (SAI), University of Heidelberg, Germany.

2010–11: Visiting Lectureship in Modern South Asia, Humboldt University, Berlin.

2005–07: Undergraduate Teaching Assistant, Department of History, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London.


2003–07: Ph. D, South Asian History, Department of History, SOAS. Title of the thesis: ‘Communication and Patterns of Circulation: Trade, Travel and Knowledge in Colonial Bihar, 1760s–1870s’.

2002–03: M. Phil, Modern Indian History, Centre for Historical Studies (CHS), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi.

2000–02: M.A., Modern Indian History, CHS, JNU.

1997–2000: B.A., History (Hons), Patna College, Patna University, Bihar.

Awards & Grants

2015-18: European Research Commission Starting Grant (ERC-StG) for the project, ‘Domestic Servants in Colonial South Asia’ (Principal Investigator).

2013-14: 10-month fellowship at IGK, “Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History”, Re:Work, Humboldt University, Berlin.

2003–07: Felix Foundation Scholarship.

2004: Best paper award in the section ‘Modern India and the Countries other than India’, Indian History Congress, India.

2003: Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) Grant, New Delhi.

2003: SARAI Studentship, Centre for Studies of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi.


‘Railway Imperialism: A Small Town Perspective on Global History, Jamalpur, 1860s-1900s’, special issue on Railway towns and globalization in Comparativ: A Journal of Global History and Comparative Studies.

‘Law, Agro-ecology and Colonialism in mid-Gangetic India, 1770s-1910s’, in Gunnel Cederlöf and Sanjukta Das Gupta, eds., Subjects, Citizens, and Law: Colonial and Postcolonial India (Routledge).

‘‘Opinion’ and ‘Violence’: Whiteness, Empire and State-formation in Colonial India’, South Asia Chronicle, 4/2014.

‘Contract, Work and Resistance: Boatmen in Early Colonial Eastern India, 1760s-1850s’, International Review of Social History, 59, S22.

‘Fluvial Landscape and the State: Property and the Gangetic Diaras in Colonial India, 1790s-1890s’, Environment and History, 20, 2.

‘Continuity and Change: The Eighteenth Century and Indian Historiography’, South Asia Chronicle, 2/2012.

With Katharina Lange and Sebastian Prange, ‘Reflecting on ‘Muslim Worlds – World of Islam’ from a Spatial Perspective’ ZMO Programmatic Texts, No. 7.


Communication and Colonialism in Eastern India, Bihar: 1760s–1880s, Anthem Press, London and New York, 2012 [ppb 2014]. ‘‘Entering the Black Hole’: Between ‘mini-England’ and ‘smell-like rotten potato’, the Railway-Workshop Town of Jamalpur, 1860s-1940s’, South Asian History and Culture, 3, 3.


‘Protest and Mobilization: Aspects of Workers’ Resistance and Control’, in Marcel van der Linden and Prabhu Mohapatra, eds., Labour Matters: Towards Global Histories: Studies in Honour of Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, Tulika, New Delhi.


‘World of Workers’ Politics: Some Issues of Railway Workers in Colonial India, 1918–1922’, Modern Asian Studies, 42, 5.
‘Mobility, Control and Criminality in Colonial India, 1760s–1850s’, Indian Economic and Social History Review, 45, 1. 

‘Anxiety, Fear and Change: 1857 and Colonial Rule in Bihar’, Prajna Bharati: The Journal of the K. P. Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna. 


Forms of Workers’ Protest amidst Dilemmas of Contesting Mobilizations: The Jamalpur Strike of 1919 and 1928’, Sephis E Magazine: Special Issue on Labour in Memory of Late Rajnarayan Chandavarkar, 3, 2. 

‘Contest and Communication: The Geography of Rebellion in Bihar’, Biblio: A Review of Books: A Special Issue on 1857, xii, March–April.

‘Forged Linkages and the ‘Spectre’ of 1857: A Few Instances from Bihar’, in Sharmistha Gooptu and Boria Majumdar, eds., Revisiting 1857: History, Myth, Memory, Roli Books, Delhi.

Review of Valeska Huber, ‘Chanelling Mobilities: Migration and Globalisation in the Suez Canal Region and Beyond, 1869-1914, International Journal of Maritime History, 26, 4 2014.

Review of Lata Singh, ‘Popular Translations of Nationalism: Bihar, 1920-1922’, New Delhi, 2012.

Review of Iftekhar Iqbal, ‘The Bengal Delta: Ecology, State and Social Change,1840–1943’, Basingstoke, 2010, in South Asia Chronicle, 1/2011.

Op-ed and Social

September 2015: ‘Forget the History Wars, it’s Time We Debated How and Whom to Commemorate’.

Editorial Duty

Co-editor, academic monograph series titled New Perspectives in South Asian History, Orient Blackswan, India.

Co-founder of Y-SASM (Young South Asia Scholars Meet), Berlin, 2010.


Courses Taught

Both at B. A. and M. A levels, on the history of transport and traffic, technology, British empire and colonial transition in South Asia in the history departments of Humboldt University, University of Heidelberg and University of York.

Lectures delivered on select themes of European and global history that include 19th century wars, nationalism, nation-states and imperialism

Select Conference Attendance,
Invited Lectures & Presentations

April 2015: ‘Law, Labour and the Concept of ‘delay’ in Early Colonial India’, in Diagnosing Legal Temporalities, University of Kent, 15-16 April.

February 2015: ‘Railway Imperialism: A ‘Global’ History of Jamalpur, 1860s-1910s’, Invited lecture, Presidency University, Kolkata, 11 February.

November 2014: ‘Domestic Servants in Colonial India’, Fourth International ‘Worlds of Labor’ Conference, Salvador, 29 November.

April 2014: ‘The Imperial/Global ‘connectedness’ of the Small Railway Town of Jamalpur, India, 1860s-1880s’, European Social Science History Conference, Vienna, 25 April.

March 2014
: ‘Contract, Work and Resistance: Boatmen in Early Colonial Eastern India, 1760s-1850s’, Invited lecture, ZMO, Berlin, 28 March.

September 2013
: ‘Colonial Walks: Between ‘Zones of Contact’ and ‘Zone of Comfort’ in India’, UNC – Chapel Hill, 12-13 September.

September 2013:
‘Fluvial Landscape and the State: Property and the Gangetic Diaras in Colonial India, 1790s-1890s’, Invited lecture, Nalanda University, Delhi, 04 September.

February 2013:
‘Roads and Early Colonial State-Formation in India: A Historiographical Agenda’, in Roads, Culture and History: Inter-disciplinary Crossroads, International Workshop on Roads in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, 02 February.

January 2013:
‘Skill Formation and Work Culture in an Indian Railway Town of Jamalpur, 1860s-1940s’, Invited lecture, Institute of Railway Studies and Transport History, National Railway Museum, York, 16 January.

June 2012: ‘Between ‘paiswa’ (money) and ‘sawatiya’ (second-wife): Womanhood, Migration and Print in Late Colonial India’, Association of Asian Studies, Rikkyo University, Tokyo, Japan, 30 June-01 July.

Membership and Organization

Association of Indian Labour Historians.

British Association for South Asian Studies.

European Association for South Asian Studies.


English (working language); Hindi (mother tongue); Bengali (intermediate level); Bhojpuri (fluent).