Soumen Mukherjee

Assistant Professor

I am a historian by training (Dr.phil., University of Heidelberg 2010; MA, University of Calcutta 2004; BA [History Honours], Presidency College, University of Calcutta 2002) with research interests and specialisation in the fields of religious and intellectual history of modern South Asia. Before joining Presidency University in 2013 I was Research Fellow at the Zentrum Moderner Orient (now Leibniz Zentrum Moderner Orient) and taught at the Freie Universitaet, both in Berlin.

A substantial part of my previous research explored the evolution in modern India of the community of the Shia Ismailis with reference to issues of religious leadership, community development, and identity while also remaining sensitized to the transregional and global aspects of that history. Different pieces of this research came to be published as peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and eventually led to my monograph Ismailism and Islam in Modern South Asia: Community and Identity in the Age of Religious Internationals (Cambridge University Press, 2017). This book won the 2021 Karim and Rosemin Karim Prize for its contribution to understudied areas of Ismaili Studies published during the period 2017-20.

More recently, I have been exploring a range of interrelated themes that cut across the boundaries of religion, philosophy, mysticism, esotericism and, more generally religio-intellectual life in both South Asian and wider transcultural contexts. Publications from these new projects are at different stages of development and some of these have already come out in the form of refereed journal articles or book chapters. My present research interest in the relationship between spirituality, religious experience, and discourses of consciousness within the rubric of “psy-disciplines” has, furthermore, resulted in an interdisciplinary collaborative endeavour. This at once coalesced into my own peer-reviewed publication on aspects of “psy-disciplines’ in modern India as well as a themed issue of a refereed journal (which I guest-edited with Christopher Harding), viz. ‘Mind, Soul and Consciousness: Religion, Science and Psy-Disciplines in Modern South Asia’, South Asian History and Culture, 9, 3 (2018), subsequently reprinted as edited collection (Routledge 2019).

I have been recipient of doctoral scholarship of the German Academic Exchange Service, and a number of prizes and grants since my Undergraduate and Graduate years. I am a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (elected in 2011) and, in 2017, I was an academic visitor within the rubric of the Study of the U.S. Institute for Scholars on Religious Pluralism, funded by the Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs, United States Department of State. More recently, my monograph won the 2021 Karim & Rosemin Karim Prize.

I teach courses in the fields of social, religious and intellectual history of modern South Asia with a particular reference to their transregional and global contexts and ramifications. I also supervise BA, MA & PhD dissertations on a wide array of themes.

For further details, an abridged CV and publications please click here.


Presidency University,
86/1 College Street, Kolkata - 700073,
West Bengal, India

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