I research on histories of visualisation, social histories of archaeology and ancient civilizations, the making of archaeological heritage and national cultures, and methodologies of material culture studies. I am trained in field archaeology and apart from teaching South Asian history and archaeology, have a long professional backgound in curatorship, through management of historical photographic archives and archaeological collections. My research focuses on shifts and transformations of notions of evidence and issues of historiography––unil now through enquiries into the histories of archaeology, photography, museums, collections and archives. My book Artefacts of History (SAGE, 2015) engages with aspects of the historiography of Indian archaeology, and the edited volume The Marshall Albums: Photography and Archaeology (Mapin/Alkazi Collection of Photography, 2010) is on select histories of the photographic practices of the colonial Archaeological Survey of India. At present, I am writing a book on Objects and Histories (Hachette, New Delhi), which attempts to seek aspects of Indian history through the social lives of select objects. I am also developing research on histories of memories and perceptions with respect to state formation in Sikkim, and on the post-colonial archaeology of cultural heritage in South Asia.
I am interested in supervising Ph.D. students who wish to research on histories of archaeologies and museums, heritage and issues of ethics, historiographies of pre-colonial India and Bronze-Age civilizations, archaeology and the nation, and the Arts of Early India.
Histories of Archaeology, The archaeology of South Asia and Early India, Art and Architecture of Pre-colonial India, Historiography, Visual Histories, Materiality, Museum Studies, Cultural Heritage and Ethics, Archaeology and Nationalism
Conference: ‘Design, Culture and History: The Idea of Objects in Modern and Contemporary India’, The K.R. Cama Research Institute, Mumbai (5-6 January 2019)
Lecture for the Plenary Session: ‘Antiquities and Design Towards a Nation: Object Lessons for Archaeology’ (5 January 2019)
Conference: ‘The Idea of Culture: An International Conference on Teaching History’, Seagull Peaceworks, Kolkata (3-5 August 2018)
Lecture: ‘Curating Cultures: Collections, Practices and their Histories’ (3 August 2018)
Conference: ‘Heritage, Decolonisation and the Field: A Conference’, 26 and 27 January 2018, German Historical Research Institute, London and UCL Institute of Archaeology (London)
Closing Keynote: ‘Decolonising South Asia through Heritage- and Nation-Building’, 27 January
Conference: ‘Survey, Mapping and Cartography’ 6 January 2018, Telengana State Gallery of Fine Art, Hyderabad, organized by the Kalakriti Archives in partnership with Bonjour India, for the 15th Krishnakriti Festival of the Arts and Culture of Hyderabad.
Lecture: ‘Archaeological and Architectural Surveys and Map-making in India’
Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, 28 March 2017 and Ancient India Iran Trust, Cambridge, Michaelmas Term Lecture Series, 21 October 2016
‘Nineveh in Bombay and Histories of Indian Archaeology’
Ambedkar University, Delhi, Centre For Community Knowledge
‘Photographs as Histories: Looking Through Collections’, 21 September 2016
Conference: ‘Capacity Building For Museums in India’, 12–14 September 2016
School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU (New Delhi) in collaboration with Nehru Trust for the Indian Collections at the V&A and Goethe Institute, Max Müller Bhavan, New Delhi
Lecture: ‘Drawing in the World? Museums as Public Spaces, 14 September 2016
Tagore Scholar, National Museum
British Academy, Small Research Grant
Evans Fellowship Committe Grant, Cambridge
The Nehru Trust for the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Commonwelath Visiting Scholar, Dept of Archaeology, Cambridge
Junior Research Fellow, University Grants Commission, India