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Banerjee, Milinda

Dr. phil. Milinda Banerjee

LMU Research Fellow
Assistant Professor, Department of History, Presidency University, Kolkata

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Milinda Banerjee is LMU Research Fellow from February 2017 to January 2019, as well as Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Presidency University (Kolkata, India). He defended his PhD in Heidelberg University (November 2014). His dissertation, which offered an intellectual history of concepts and practices of rulership and sovereignty in colonial India (with a primary focus on Bengal, ca. 1858-1947), has now been published as The Mortal God: Imagining the Sovereign in Colonial India (Cambridge University Press, 2018). His research project at LMU is titled ‘Sovereignty versus Natural Law? The Tokyo Trial in Global Intellectual History’. Banerjee specializes in the intersections of South Asian and global intellectual history, and is the author of two other monographs on modern Bengali intellectual history, several journal articles and book chapters, as well as the co-editor of the volume, Transnational Histories of the 'Royal Nation' (Palgrave, 2017). He is also a series editor for two series with De Gruyter, Critical Readings in Global Intellectual History and Transregional Practices of Power. Interested authors may write to him regarding potential book projects.


India and the Tokyo Trial (1946-48) (YouTube)

Towards Global Criminal Justice? (Centre for International Law Research and Policy)



Current Projects

Global Intellectual History as Political and Ethical Critique

Career and Education

  • 2017-2019: Research Fellow at Ludwig-Maximilian University (LMU), Munich. Associated with the Japan-Center, Department of Asian Studies, LMU, and the Young Center of the LMU Center for Advanced Studies. Title of Project: ‘Sovereignty versus Natural Law? The Tokyo Trial in Global Intellectual History’.
  • November 2014: PhD in Heidelberg University (Summa cum Laude).
  • 2013-2016: Research Fellow in Junior Research Group ‘Transcultural Justice: Legal Flows and the Emergence of International Justice within the East Asian War Crimes Trials, 1946-1954’, Cluster of Excellence ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context’, Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, Heidelberg University, Germany. Title of Project: ‘An Intellectual History of the Tokyo Trial: Judge Radhabinod Pal and Debates on International Justice’.
  • 2012-ongoing: Assistant Professor, Department of History, Presidency University, Kolkata (currently on leave).
  • 2010-2014: PhD candidate at the Cluster of Excellence ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context: Shifting Asymmetries in Cultural Flows’, Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, Heidelberg University, Germany. Member of research project A5: ‘Nationising the Dynasty’.
  • 2010-2011: Taught at Department of History, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University.
  • 2010: Assistant Professor at Surendranath College, Kolkata (University of Calcutta).
  • 2008-2010: Fellow, Centre for Advanced Studies, Department of History, University of Calcutta.
  • 2008-2010: Guest lecturer at Presidency College, Kolkata (University of Calcutta).
  • 2008 Part-time guest lecturer at Vidyasagar College, Evening Section, Kolkata (University of Calcutta).
  • 2007: Qualified in the National Eligibility Test (NET) examinations, University Grants Commission, Government of India.
  • 2006-2008: MA in History, University of Calcutta (Graded 1st class 1st).
  • 2003-2006: BA in History, University of Calcutta (Graded 1st class 1st).


Edited Volumes

  • 2017: (co-edited with Charlotte Backerra and Cathleen Sarti) Transnational Histories of the 'Royal Nation', London: Palgrave, 2017; part of Palgrave Studies in Modern Monarchy.

Edited Journal Special Issue:

  • 2018: (co-edited with Kerstin von Lingen) Forum 'Law, Empire, and Global Intellectual History', in the journal Modern Intellectual History (forthcoming).

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • 2015: ‘“All This is Indeed Brahman”: Rammohun Roy and a ‘Global’ History of the Rights-Bearing Self’, in The Asian Review of World Histories, 3 (1) 2015: 81-112.
  • 2010: ‘State of Nature, Civilized Society, and Social Contract: Perspectives from Early Modern Bengal on the Origin and Limits of Government’, Calcutta Historical Journal, 28 (2) 2008 [backlog issue]: 1-55.
  • 2009: ‘The Trial of Derozio, or the Scandal of Reason’, Social Scientist, 37 (7-8) 2009: 60-88.
  • 2009: '1857-r Nana Bhasha' [The Many Languages of 1857], Sahitya Parishad Patrika, May 2009: 44-55.
  • 2008: ‘Heritage Unbound’, Journal of the Asiatic Society, 50 (4) 2008: 43-110.

Book Chapters in Peer-Reviewed Volumes

  • 2018: ‘How a Subject Negates Servitude: A Peasant Dialectic about Mastery and Self-Rule from Late Colonial Bengal’, in Rafael Klöber and Manju Ludwig (eds.) HerStory. Historical Scholarship between South Asia and Europe: Festschrift in Honour of Gita Dharampal-Frick, Heidelberg: CrossAsia, 2018, 87-104.
  • 2018: ‘India’s ‘Subaltern Elites’ and the Tokyo Trial’, in Kerstin von Lingen (ed.), Transcultural Justice at the Tokyo Tribunal: The Allied Struggle for Justice, 1946-48, Leiden: Brill, 2018, 262-283.
  • 2017: ‘'We shall Create a New World, a New Man, a New Society': Globalized Horizons among Bengali Naxalites’, in Tamara Chaplin and Jadwiga Pieper-Mooney (eds.), The Global Sixties: Convention, Contest, and Counterculture, New York: Routledge, 2017, 52-71."
  • 2017: ‘The Royal Nation and Global Intellectual History: Conceptualizing Monarchic Routes to National Unity’, in Milinda Banerjee, Charlotte Backerra, and Cathleen Sarti (eds.), Transnational Histories of the 'Royal Nation', London: Palgrave, 2017, 21-44.
  • 2016: ‘Decolonization and Subaltern Sovereignty: India and the Tokyo Trial’, in Kerstin von Lingen (ed.), War Crimes Trials in the Wake of Decolonization and Cold War in Asia, 1945-1956, London: Palgrave, 2016, 69-91.
  • 2016: ‘Ocular Sovereignty, Acclamatory Rulership, and Political Communication: Visits of Princes of Wales to Bengal’, in Heidi Mehrkens and Frank Lorenz Müller (eds.), ‘Winning their Trust and Affection’: Royal Heirs and the Uses of Soft Power in Nineteenth-Century Europe, London: Palgrave, 2016, 81-100.
  • 2016: ‘Gods in a Democracy: State of Nature, Postcolonial Politics, and Bengali Mangalkabyas’, in Jyotsna Singh and David Kim (eds.), The Postcolonial World, London: Routledge, 2016, 184-205.
  • 2015: ‘Doubt, Authority and the Individual. Rammohun Roy, Christian Missionary Discourses and Political Theology in Early Nineteenth-Century Bengal’, in Martin Fuchs, Antje Linkenbach-Fuchs, and Wolfgang Reinhard (eds.), Individualisierung durch christliche Mission? [Individualization through Christian Missionary Activity?], Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2015, 438-456.
  • 2014: ‘Does International Criminal Justice Require a Sovereign? Historicizing Radhabinod Pal’s Tokyo Judgment in Light of his ‘Indian’ Legal Philosophy’, in Morten Bergsmo, Cheah Wui Ling, and Yi Ping (eds.), Historical Origins of International Criminal Law, vol. 2, 67-117, Forum for International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Publication Series No. 21 (2014), Brussels: Torkel Opsahl, 2014, archived in International Criminal Court Legal Tools Database.

Co-Authored Articles / Book Chapters

  • 2018: ‘Series Editors’ Note: Starting the Critical Readings: Renaissances in Dialogue and Global Intellectual History’ (with Sebastian Meurer and Susan Richter), in Thomas Maissen and Barbara Mittler, Why China Did Not Have a Renaissance – and Why That Matters: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue, Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2018, xi-xvii.
  • 2018: ‘Forum Law, Empire, and Global Intellectual History: AnIntroduction’ (with Kerstin von Lingen) in Modern Intellectual History.
  • 2017: ‘Introduction’ and ‘Conclusion’ (with Charlotte Backerra and Cathleen Sarti) in Milinda Banerjee, Charlotte Backerra, and Cathleen Sarti (eds.), Transnational Histories of the 'Royal Nation', London: Palgrave, 2017.

Grants and Third Party Funding

(Year refers to the year of grant award)

  • 2016: Ludwig-Maximilian University (LMU) Research Fellowship.
  • 2016: Participant in DFG (German Research Foundation) Grant for Initiation of International Collaboration on research about ‘Indian Nationals in Transitional Justice after WWII in the Pacific-Asian Region: as Victims, Judges, and Prison Guards’, in association with scholars from Marburg University, Heidelberg University, Australian National University, and Murdoch University, Perth (Principal Participant: Wolfgang Form, Marburg University).
  • 2015: Partner in Danish Agency for Science, Technology, and Innovation Grant for establishing an ‘Indian-Danish Research Network on the Social History of Serampore, West Bengal, India’ (Principal Partner: Bente Wolff, National Museum of Denmark).
  • 2014: UKIERI (UK-India Education and Research Initiative) Grant on ‘Narratives of Migration’, in collaboration between Presidency University and University of St Andrews.
  • 2014: Project on creating a digital database on the ‘Dutch in Bengal’ with the Netherlands Embassy in India.
  • 2013: Co-investigator in Interdisciplinary (History/Political Science) Research Project ‘Languages of Empowerment: Producing Community Identities among Backward Classes in Contemporary West Bengal’: Project at Rabindranath Tagore Centre for Human Development Studies (UGC-sponsored Joint Initiative of University of Calcutta and Institute of Development Studies Kolkata).
  • 2010: PhD Scholarship at the Cluster of Excellence ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context: Shifting Asymmetries in Cultural Flows’, Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, Heidelberg University, Germany.

International Conference and Workshop Organization

  • 2018: International Conference ‘Mastery, Ownership, Divinity: Self and Power in Transregional and Transtemporal Perspectives’, at LMU Munich, 18-19 September.
  • 2018: (with David Malitz, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok), International Roundtable ‘Global Intellectual History beyond Eurocentric Lenses: Connected Political Vocabularies across South and Southeast Asia, ca. 1800-2018’, at LMU Munich, 4 August.
  • 2017: (with Ilya Afanasyev, University of Birmingham) International Conference ‘The Modern Invention of Dynasty: A Global Intellectual History of the Concept, 1500-2000’, at Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures, University of Birmingham, 21-23 September.
  • 2016: (with Kerstin von Lingen, Heidelberg University) International Conference ‘Law, Empire, and Global Intellectual History’, Heidelberg University, 19-21 June.
  • 2015: (with Souvik Mukherjee, Presidency University): International Conference ‘Narratives of Migration’, Presidency University, 19 January.
  • 2014: (with Souvik Mukherjee, Presidency University, the Embassy of the Netherlands in India, and the Department of Tourism, Government of West Bengal), International Workshop ‘The Dutch in Bengal’, Presidency University, 25 February.
  • 2012: (with Project A5, ‘Nationising the Dynasty’, Cluster of Excellence ‘Asia and Europe’, Heidelberg University) International Conference ‘Nationizing the Dynasty – Dynastizing the Nation’, University of California, Los Angeles, 12-14 April.

Membership in International Institutions and Networks

  • Associate Member, Cluster of Excellence ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context’, Heidelberg University.
  • Member, ‘The Long History of Identity, Ethnicity and Nationhood’ Research Network, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), University of Oxford.
  • Member, European Hobbes Society.
  • Member, Royal Studies Network.