Dr Chris Moffat
Lecturer in South Asian History
Email: email@example.comRoom 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.
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.
From 2017-2020 I was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of History at QMUL, and in 2019 a Visiting Faculty Member in the Department of History, Government College University, Lahore. My research explored the contested status of ‘the past’ in Pakistan’s politics and public life. I focused 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. This research will appear as a book manuscript provisionally titled 'Learning from Lahore: Architecture After Modernism in Urban Pakistan'.
- India’s Revolutionary Inheritance: Politics and the Promise of Bhagat Singh (Cambridge University Press, 2019)
- ‘Building, Dwelling, Dying: Architecture and History in Pakistan’, Modern Intellectual History (2020, Online FirstView).
- ‘The Itinerant Library of Lala Lajpat Rai’, History Workshop Journal 89 (2020), 121-139.
- ‘History in Pakistan and the Will to Architecture’, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 39:1 (2019), 171-183.
- ‘Against “Cultures of Hiatus": History and the Archive in the Political Thought of John La Rose’, Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism 55 (2018), 39-54.
- ‘Politics and the Work of the Dead in Modern India’, Comparative Studies in Society and History 60:1 (2018), 178-211.
- (With J Daniel Elam), ’On the Form, Politics and Effects of Writing Revolution’,South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 39:3 (2016), 513-24.
- ‘Bhagat Singh’s Corpse’, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 39:3 (2016), 644-661.
- ‘Experiments in Political Truth’, Postcolonial Studies 16:2 (2013), 185-201.
- ‘The Past for Pakistan’ – Special Section of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 39:1 (2019).
- (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
- ‘A Baroque Urbanism: Telling Stories with Buildings in Karachi and Dhaka’, The Caravan (June 2020).
- ‘Shaheen Bagh and the Force of Foundation’, Allegra Lab (12 May 2020).
- ‘Theory of the Workaround’, Radical Philosophy 2.07 (Spring 2020).
- ‘Watching John Akomfrah in Lahore’, Berfrois (6 March 2020).
- ‘Fill the Halls: Space and Possibility in Lahore, Pakistan’, Public Books (25 July 2019)
- ‘Dust and Debris in the Films of Naeem Mohaiemen’ Berfrois (22 November 2018
- ‘Rida Fatima’s Memento Mori’, The Friday Times (11 May 2018)
- ‘Passing Time at Bab-e-Pakistan’, The Friday Times (16 March 2018)
- ‘Afterlives (CSSH Behind the Scenes Feature’, Comparative Studies in Society and History Online Blog (January 2018)
- ‘Just in Time: On the Undoing of Indian Politics in the Films of Anand Patwardhan’, Berfrois(20 August 2015)
- ‘Infinite Inquilab’, The Caravan: A Journal of Politics and Culture (1 August 2013)
- ‘KK Aziz and the Coffee House of Lahore’, Kafila(1 June 2012).
Current PHD Students
- Maria Awan – A Discourse of Sympathy: Syed Ahmed Khan as Navigator of Feeling in Colonial India