School of History

Dr Chris Moffat


British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

Room Number: ArtsTwo 2.19


I am a political and intellectual historian of modern South Asia with an interest in the shape and form of history’s ‘public life’ across the broader postcolonial world. To this end, my work engages both the philosophy and anthropology of the discipline. I joined Queen Mary in 2015, having completed my PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2014.  


Research Interests:

My research focuses on questions of historical methodology, especially where the discipline of history grapples with alternative conceptions of time and space, the interruptive influence of the dead, and the fraying or tangled threads of memory. I have written extensively on the Indian revolutionary martyr Bhagat Singh (1907-1931), tracing his continuing political potential into the twenty-first century and asking what it means to take such revenant figures seriously in the history of political thought.

I have a consonant interest in alternative or dissident commemorative practices, particularly as they relate to public space, public art and the politics of archival and architectural preservation.

In 2017 I began a three-year British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship in the School of History. This research explores the contested status of ‘the past’ in Pakistan’s politics and public life. I focus on the role of the built environment in mediating relationships to history, charting conflicts over the construction, conservation and destruction of buildings in Pakistan’s major urban centres.




Edited Volumes

  • ‘The Past for Pakistan’ – Special Section of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 39:1 (2019) - Forthcoming
  • (Co-edited with Kama Maclean and J Daniel Elam), Writing Revolution in South Asia: History, Practice, Politics(London and New Delhi: Routledge, 2017). [Originally published in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 39:3 (2016)] 

Selected Essays and Reviews  


Current PHD Students

  • Maria Awan – A Discourse of Sympathy: Syed Ahmed Khan as Navigator of Feeling in Colonial India