Portrait of Dr Aparajita Mukhopadhyay

Dr Aparajita Mukhopadhyay

Lecturer, 19th-century imperial history


Dr Aparajita Mukhopadhyay gained her BA, MA and MPhil from Delhi University, India, before completing a PhD at SOAS University of London which investigated the role railways played in shaping colonial Indian society.

Aparajita taught at Salisbury University, Maryland, USA between 2014 and 2017, before teaching in the UK at SOAS, St Mary's University, and Goldsmiths. She arrived at the School of History at Kent in 2018.

Research interests

Aparajita's areas of research include imperial history and the history of the British Empire, as well as the history of colonial South Asia, technology, the history of railways, and the history of social space.


Aparajita currently teaches on the history of empires and imperial Britain. 


Aparajita would be interested in supervising research projects in any of her areas of research (listed above).   



  • Mukhopadhyay, A. (2014). Colonised Gaze? Guidebooks and Journeying in Colonial India. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies [Online] 37:656-669. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00856401.2014.952972.
    This article analyses Bengali- and Hindi-language travelogues written by Indian railway travellers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While the authors of these texts were influenced by the literary and interpretative sensibilities of European guidebooks of the period, especially English-language railway guides to India, they did not uncritically adopt their colonial discourses. Rather, Indian authors created a distinct narrative, rejecting or appropriating European ideas with discretion, primarily to suit their specific vision of India. I argue that in their writings, Indian authors, like their European counterparts, participated in a process of creating ‘others’, which had fundamental implications for the imagining of colonial Indian society.


  • Mukhopadhyay, A. (2018). Imperial Technology and ’Native’ Agency: A Social History of Railways in Colonial India, 1850-1920. [Online]. London, UK: Routledge. Available at: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315397108.
    This book explores the impact of railways on colonial Indian society from the commencement of railway operations in the mid-nineteenth to the early decades of the twentieth century. The book represents a historiographical departure. Using new archival evidence as well as travelogues written by Indian railway travellers in Bengali and Hindi, this book suggests that the impact of railways on colonial Indian society were more heterogeneous and complex than anticipated either by India’s colonial railway builders or currently assumed by post-colonial scholars. At a related level, the book argues that this complex outcome of the impact of railways on colonial Indian society was a product of the interaction between the colonial context of technology transfer and the Indian railway passengers who mediated this process at an everyday level. In other words, this book claims that the colonised ‘natives’ were not bystanders in this process of imposition of an imperial technology from above. On the contrary, Indians, both as railway passengers and otherwise influenced the nature and the direction of the impact of an oft-celebrated ‘tool of Empire’. The historiographical departures suggested in the book are based on examining railway spaces as social spaces – a methodological index influenced by Henri Lefebvre’s idea of social spaces as means of control, domination and power.

Book section

  • Mukhopadhyay, A. (2018). Spicy Curries and Cups of Tea: Dining Along the Darjeeling Himalayan Line. In: Hudgins, S. ed. Food on the Move: Dining on the Legendary Railway Journeys of the World. Reaktion Books. Available at: https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/F/bo31238080.html.
  • Mukhopadhyay, A. (2017). Lost in transit? Railway crimes and the regime of control in colonial India. In: Rashkow, E., Ghosh, S. and Chakrabarti, U. eds. Memory, Identity and the Colonial Encounter in India: Essays in Honour of Peter Robb. Routledge. Available at: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315104058.
  • Mukhopadhyay, A. (2017). Food in Transit: Railway Catering and Commensality in Colonial India. In: Williot, J.-P. ed. Railway Catering Between Imaginary and Consumption: Consumers, Images and Markets. Peter Lang. Available at: https://www.peterlang.com/view/title/62579?tab=subjects.

Internet publication

  • Mukhopadhyay, A. (2017). Reviewing The News Of Empire; Telegraphy, Journalism, And The Politics Of The Reporting In Colonial India [internet blog]. Available at: https://t2m.org/publications/reviewing-the-news-of-empire-telegraphy-journalism-and-the-politics-of-the-reporting-in-colonial-india/.
    Review of: The News of Empire: Telegraphy, Journalism, and the Politics of the Reporting in Colonial India c.1830-1900, Bonea, A, New Delhi (India), Oxford University Press (First Published 2016) pp-376

    ISBN: 0199467129 (Hardback) Price: 1644 INR (US$: 25)


  • Mukhopadhyay, A. (2019). Book Review: Aparajith Ramnath, The Birth of an Indian Profession: Engineers, Industry, and the State, 1900–1947. The Indian Economic & Social History Review [Online] 56:116-118. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0019464618820138.
    Aparajith Ramnath, The Birth of an Indian Profession: Engineers, Industry, and the State, 1900–1947, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2017, 266 pp.
  • Mukhopadhyay, A. (2018). Review of Railways and the Raj: How the Age of Steam Transformed India. Reviews in History [Review] 2018. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.14296/RiH/2014/2249.
    Review of: Railways and The Raj: How the Age of Steam Transformed India. Christian Wolmar. London , Atlantic Books, 2017, ISBN: 9780857890641; 384pp.; Price: £16.85
  • Mukhopadhyay, A. (2017). Review of Tracks of Change: Railways and Everyday Life in Colonial India. Reviews in History [Review] 2017. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.14296/RiH/2014/2049.
    Review of: Tracks of Change: Railways and Everyday Life in Colonial India. Ritika Prasad. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015, ISBN: 9781107084216; 326pp.; Price: £19.99
  • Mukhopadhyay, A. (2015). New Perspectives in the History of Indian Education, Parimala Rao (ed.), 2014, Orient Blackswan. Paedagogica Historica [Online] 51:768-770. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00309230.2015.1073983.
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