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Santhosh Abraham


Assistant Professor
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
IIT Madras, Chennai, Tamilnadu – 600036
Email: abraham@iitm.ac.in



Academic Background:

  • Ph.D in History, University of Hyderabad, 2008
  • M.Phil in History, University of Hyderabad, 2003
  • M.A in History, University of Calicut, 2002

Research Interests:

  • Colonial Animal Histories
  • Legal and Medical History
  • Colonial Medicine, Psychiatry, Asylums
  • Sociology of Law

Teaching Experiences:

  • Department of Humanities and Social Sciences – 2012 –  Current
    Indian Institute of Technology Madras
  • Department of Humanities and Social Science  – 2018 (January – December)
    Indian Institute of Technology Palakkad (On Deputation)
  • Nalsar University of Law, Hyderabad – 2010 – 2012
  • Department of History, University of Hyderabad   –  2009 -2010

Courses Taught:

  • History of the Modern World
  • Indian National Movement
  • Law and Society & Modern India
  • Ancient Civilizations
  • History of Science and Technology
  • Contemporary India (IIT Palakkad)
  • International Relations (IIT Palakkad)
  • Approaches to World History (University of Hyderabad)

Research Projects Completed:

  1. Medical Humanities Research Award  –  Wellcome Trust, London (November-January 2015)
  2. Medical Humanities Research Award  –  Wellcome Trust, London  (June-July 2014)
  3. Medicine and British Empire in South India –   Indian National Science Academy (INSA)  New Delhi
  4. Psychiatry and Mental Asylums   -ICSR, IIT Madras – Exploratory Research
  5. Colonial Courts, Trials and Conflicts in Early British Malabar  –  ICSR, IIT Madras

Ph.D Guidance:

  1. Visakh M.S – Islamic Traditionalism in a Globalizing World– Completed and Awarded in 2020 (Currently employed as Post-doctoral Research Associate at the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex)
  2. Suramya T.K – Regulation and Resistance in the Beedi Industry of Malabar(Completed)
  3. Mathew Joseph – Cartography in British Malabar(Currently Pursuing).
  4. Melody Leivon – Access to Justice(Currently Pursuing).
  5. Sreedevi K.C – Colonial Railways (Currently Pursuing).
  6. Vardhaman Sai Krishna – Medicine in Princely States (Currently Pursuing).

 Professional Achievements:

  •  Editorial Board Member of South Asia Research (A peer-reviewed International, Multi-disciplinary Journal which covers the History, Politics, Law, Economics, Sociology, Visual culture, Languages and Literature of the countries in South Asia. (Published by Sage Journals International)

Academic Awards:

  • Sheela Raj Memorial Award for Best Ph.D Thesis in History in the year 2010, University of Hyderabad, 2010.


Published Articles in International / National Journals:

  • (2022) Abraham, Santhosh and S.S.Mathew, ‘Becoming Coolies and Supervisors: Continued Indebtedness, coercive intermediaries and new Governmentalities in Colonial South Indian Plantations, 1830-1895’, Labour History, Vol.63, Issue: 2, 2022, pp.279-296. https://doi.org/10.1080/0023656X.2022.2073343
  • (2020) Suramya T.K & Santhosh Abraham, ‘Regulation and resistance: Defactorisation in the beedi industry of colonial Malabar, 1937–1941’, Labor History, Vol.61:5-6, pp. 658-676,   https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0023656X.2020.1844874
  • (2017) Santhosh Abraham, ‘The Keyi Mappila Muslim Merchants of Tellicherry and the Making of Coastal Cosmopolitanism on the Malabar Coast’,  Asian Review of World Histories (Brill, Leiden), Vol. 5, Issue 2, 2017, pp. 145-162. http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/10.1163/22879811-12340009
  • (2014) Santhosh Abraham, ‘Constructing the ‘Extraordinary Criminals”: Mappila Muslims and Legal Encounters in Early British Colonial Malabar’, Journal of World History, Volume 25, Issue 2-3, 2014, (University of Hawai’i Press), pp. 373 – 395. http://muse.jhu.edu/article/579925
  • (2013) Santhosh Abraham, ‘Formal Writing, Questionnaires and Petitions: Colonial Governance and Law in Early British Malabar’, Indian Historical Review, Vol.40, No.2, December 2013, (Sage International) pp. 285 – 305. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0376983613499681
  • (2011) Santhosh Abraham, ‘Colonial Law in Early British Malabar: Transparent Colonial State and Formality of Practices’, South Asia Research, Vol.31, No.3, November, 2011, (Sage International), pp.249-264. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/026272801103100304?journalCode=sara
  • (2011) Santhosh Abraham, ‘The Making of Colonial Law in British India: A Historiographical Analysis’, Indian Law Review, Vol. 3, 2011, pp.116-128.
  • (2011) Santhosh Abraham, ‘Classical Legal Traditions: Some Historiographical Interpretations’, Journal of History and Social Sciences, Vol.2, Issue I, January-June 2011.

Encyclopedia Entries:

  • (2020) Santhosh Abraham, ‘Mappilas’, in Kate Fleet and Gudrun Kramer (Eds), The Encyclopedia of Islam Three, Brill: Leiden, 2020, pp. 118-121.
  • (2017), Santhosh Abraham, Culture Summary: Kerala,  New Haven: Human Relations Area Files. http://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu/document?id=aw11-000.

Book Reviews:

  • (2021) Santhosh Abraham, Book review: Radhika Mongia, Indian Migration and Empire: A Colonial Genealogy of the Modern State​, South Asia Research, Vol.41, Issue :1, 2021, pp.140-143.
  • (2017) Santhosh Abraham, Book Review: Harris Solomon, Metabolic Living: Food, Fat and the Absorption of Illness in India, South Asia Research, Vol.37, Issue:3, pp.359-362.

​Conference / Workshop Papers  (Selected / Post-2012):

  • (2016) Santhosh Abraham, “Making of Madras Coolies: Labour Migration, Legislations and Resistances in Colonial South India’, International Conference on After Slavery? Labour and Migration in the Post-Emancipation World, University of Leeds at Leeds, UK, 27 -28 June 2016.
  • (2015), Recasting and Reimagining the Islamic Law and Jurisprudence: Colonial and Post-colonial Discourses on Muslim Law in Malabar, Kerala, International Conference on Ocean of Law: Intermixed Legal Systems across the Indian Ocean World, Organised by Ledien University, The Netherlands at Leiden, 7-9, December, 2015.
  • (2015) Santhosh Abraham, “Keyi Mappila Muslims of Colonial Malabar: Making of Coastal and Vernacular Cosmopolitan Order”, International Conference on Wild Spaces and Islamic Cosmopolitanism in Asia, Organised by Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, at Singapore, 14-15 January, 2015.
  • (2012) Santhosh Abraham, ‘Jungle Mappilas as Criminal Bandits in Colonial Malabar’ in the Workshop on European Encounters with Islam in Asia, 1500-1800, University of Hawai’i (USA), September 28 – 29, 2012.

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