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PhD in History Humaira Chowdhury

PhD in History Humaira Chowdhury
Fitzwilliam College


I completed my MPhil in Modern South Asian History at the University of Cambridge (2017). I have been a visiting scholar at the Centre of Islamic Studies at Cambridge (2015), on a research travel grant funded by the INLAKS Shivdasani Foundation. 

Research Interests

My doctoral thesis focuses on the experiences of internally displaced Muslim stayers-on in Communist Calcutta, 1977-2011. The historiography on 'Muslim ghettos' in West Bengal has tended to rely on symbolic and spatialised binaries, such as, Hindu-Muslim, insider-outsider, safe-unsafe, rural-urban, and city-borderland. These categorisations have produced analytical blind-spots that describe Muslim neighbourhoods predominantly through tropes of exclusion, marginalisation, and victimisation. The overgeneralising accounts of Muslim ghettoisation in post-partition West Bengal precludes the possibility of understanding Muslim neighbourhoods as vibrant spaces of social and economic enterprise, rooted in thriving commercial corridors that link these localities to their borderlands and beyond. My thesis examines the social histories and genealogies of Calcutta's 'Muslim ghettos', and the diverse practices of production and consumption among Muslim communities, with a specific focus on Muslim dockworkers and darzis (tailoring communities) in Calcutta. 

My research interests primarily lie in migration, gender, and labour history.

Regional focus:

South Asia

India (West Bengal)


Research Supervision

Professor Joya Chatterji

Other Professional Activities

Co-convenor of the South Asia Workshop (2017-2018)


  • Economic, Social History