Nandini Bhattacharya

(01382) 384293
Senior Lecturer in History



I specialize in history of medicine and colonial and global history. Before joining Dundee, I have taught history of medicine at Yale University and urban and colonial History at the University of Leicester. I trained in history at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. I was awarded the first Roy Porter Memorial Studentship by the Wellcome Trust for my PhD at the University College London.

I am the Director of the Scottish Centre for Global History at the School of Humanities:



My research has focussed on the nineteenth and twentieth century South Asia. My first book Contagion and Enclaves  established the vital links between medicine, the political economy and the social history of colonialism. The book shows that the critical aspect of the enclaves was in their interconnectedness; with other enclaves, with the global economy and international medical research. My present and future research similarly explore the problematics of colonialism, scientific modernity and the political economy. My research methodologies are interdisciplinary and I have collaborated with colleagues in other disciplines to publish and sustain multi-disciplinary approaches to writing history.


Present Project

A Coming of Age Story: History of the IndianPharmaceutical Industry, 1905-1966. In 2011, I was awarded a Wellcome Trust fellowship for my project on a history of the Indian pharmaceutical industry in the twentieth century. This project explores the institutionalisation, expansion and commercialisation of therapeutics in colonial and post-colonial India.

My forthcoming second book based on this project, titled Disparate Remedies: Making Medicines in Colonial India will interrogate colonial industrialism at the cusp of nationalism and global trade. Implicated in colonial India’s conflictual relationship with modernity itself, the drugs industry represented one of its most significant sites of contestation as well as its potential for vindication. Disparate Remedies will investigate the a-symmetric cultures of medicine in colonial India. 


Future Research

Alcohol and Its Discontents in Modern India

This project has emerged from my research on the pharmaceutical industries. Alcohol was placed at the crux of several intersecting moralities; its excessive consumption offended Victorian sensibilities, medical experts, missionaries and the puritanism inherent to Hindu and Islamic revivalist movements. Nonetheless, revenues from its consumption and the production of industrial and consumable alcohol rose exponentially from the mid- nineteenth century. This project will explore the transformations of alcohol and its transformative powers on consumers, industry, civil society and the state.


I will be happy to supervise students on themes such as imperial and global history, history of medicine, and  histories of labour.

AHRC funded studentships are available in my research area - more details




  • Disparate Remedies: Medicine and the Market in Modern India (Forthcoming)
  • Contagion and Enclaves: Tropical Medicine in Colonial India, Postcolonial Studies series, Liverpool University Press, 2012


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

  • With Ioan Fazey, et al. "Ten essentials for action-oriented and second order energy transitions, transformations and climate change research." Energy Research & Social Science 40 (2018): 54-70.
  • "The Problem of Alcohol in Colonial India (c. 1907–1942)." Studies in History 33, no. 2 (2017): 187-212.
  • "Between the Bazaar and the Bench: Making of the Drugs Trade in Colonial India, ca. 1900–1930." Bulletin of the History of Medicine 90, no. 1 (2016): 61.
  • "From Materia Medica to the Pharmacopoeia: Challenges of writing the history of drugs in India." History compass 14, no. 4 (2016): 131-139.
  • "Leisure, economy and colonial urbanism: Darjeeling, 1835–1930." Urban history 40, no. 3 (2013): 442-461.
  • Bhattacharya, Nandini. "The logic of location: Malaria research in colonial India, Darjeeling and Duars, 1900–30." Medical history 55, no. 2 (2011): 183-202.