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Alastair McClure


I am a fourth year PhD Student at Corpus Christi College funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. My thesis explores the history of law and colonial power in India, 1858-1914.

Before starting my PhD I completed undergraduate and masters degrees at Cardiff University. 

Research Interests

Indian Legal History, Colonialism, Violence, Gender History, Anti-Colonial and Nationalist Thought.

My thesis explores colonial law in India between 1858-1914. Beginning with the trial of Bahadur Shah Zafar, Queen Victoria's Proclamation, and the implementation of the Indian Penal Code, all which followed Rebellion in 1857, the thesis analyses sovereignty in the colonial context. Shifting through various frames of law (case law, legislation, emergency law) the thesis is related to the themes of violence, forgiveness, colonial subjectivity, and legal-political thought. As such chapters include analysis of the reintroduction of corporal punishment, the provision of royal amnesty, punishment practices for murder, and anti-colonial legalism.


I have led various Historical Argument and Practice seminars for both first and third years. These include: Gender, Power, Empires and Nations and States.

I also have supervised Part I: Paper 23 (World History since 1914) and Part II: Paper 28 (The History of the Indian subcontinent from the late eighteenth century to the present day).

Other Professional Activities

  • Co-convenor of the international interdisciplinary conference, "(Un)Making the Nation" (University of Cambridge, 10-11th September 2015)
  • Co-convenor of the one day international legal history conference, "Refining the Legal Lens: New Directions in Modern Indian Legal History" (University of Cambridge, 6th May 2016)
  • Co-convenor of the World History Workshop 2015-2016.

I have given conference papers at various universities in the UK including the University of Reading, University of Sussex, Queen Mary University, and the London School of Economics, and at the University of Tampere, Finland.

Key Publications

Feb, 2017: Special issue in History Compass, Theme: "Making and Unmaking the Nation in World History", co-edited with Joseph McQuade and Sophie-Jung Kim.

Feb, 2017: ‘Introduction’, History Compass in Special Issue ‘Making and Unmaking the Nation in World History’, co-written with Joseph McQuade and Sophie-Jung Kim.

2017: ‘State building and problematic geopolitical spaces in South Asia: The Himalayas and the Extradition Treaty of 1855’. In Transnational Frontiers of Asia and South America since 1800, edited by Jaime Moreno Tejado & Bradley Tatar, 98-110. (New York: Routledge, 2017).