Aparna Kapadia

Photo of Aparna Kapadia

Associate Professor of History

Hollander Hall Rm 253
At Williams since 2013

Spring 2023 Class Hours

Mon/Thu – 2:35 pm to 3:50 pm
Tue / Thu – 11:20 am to 12:35 pm

Spring 2023 Office Hours

Wednesdays, 11:00 am to noon ONLINE
Thursdays, 4:15 to 5:15 pm IN PERSON
And By Appointment


B.A. St. Xavier's College, Mumbai University
M.A. Jawaharlal Nehru University
M.Phil. Jawaharlal Nehru University, History
Ph.D. University of London, History

Current Committees

  • Faculty Interview Panel


Aparna Kapadia (Ph. D., SOAS, University of London, 2010) is a social historian of early modern and modern South Asia. Her research particularly focuses on western Indian regional cultures, identities, and power structures as well as the subcontinent’s links with the Indian Ocean networks.

Her most recent book,  In Praise of Kings: Rajputs, Sultans and Poets in Fifteenth-Century Gujarat (Cambridge University Press, 2018), shifts the conventional focus on the Delhi-centered empires and investigates the fascinating world Gujarat’s royal courts, including those of the Rajput chieftains and the regional sultans, through close readings of rarely used literary works in Sanskrit and Gujarati. She is also the co-editor of The Idea of Gujarat: History, Ethnography and Text (Orient Blackswan, 2010). She is currently working on a new book project that investigates the rise and shaping of a western Indian business community, the Gujarati Bhatias, and their role in the making of the colonial port city of Bombay.

Kapadia also serves as Associate Editor on The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (JRAS)’s Editorial Board and writes a column on history called Off Centre for Scroll.in.

Selected Publications

Kapadia, Aparna. “Imagining Region in Late Colonial India: Jhaverchand Meghani and the Construction of Saurashtra (1921–47).” The Journal of Asian Studies, 2022, 81.3:541–560.

Kapadia, Aparna, In Praise of Kings: Rajputs, Sultans and Poets in Fifteenth-Century Gujarat. Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Kapadia, Aparna, ‘Universal Poet, Local Kings: Sanskrit, the Rhetoric of Kingship and Local Kingdoms in Gujarat’ in Francesca Orsini and Samira Sheikh (eds), After Timur Left: Multiple Spaces of Cultural Production and Circulation in Fifteenth-century North India, OUP, New Delhi, 2014.

Kapadia, Aparna, ‘The Last Cakravartin?: The Gujarat Sultan as ‘Universal King’ in Fifteenth Century Sanskrit Poetry’, Medieval History Journal, vol. 16, no. 1 (April 2013):63-88.

Kapadia, Aparna, ‘Alexander Forbes and the Making of a Regional History,’ in Edward Simpson and Aparna Kapadia (eds), The Idea of Gujarat: History, Ethnography and Text, New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2010.

Simpson, Edward and Aparna Kapadia (eds), The Idea of Gujarat: History, Ethnography and Text, New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2010.

Kapadia, Aparna, ‘What Makes the Head Turn: The Narratives of Kānhaḍade and the Dynamics of Legitimacy in Western India’, SAGAR, vol. 18, Spring 2008, pp. 87-100.

Research Interests

South Asian history, literary and popular culture, Indian Ocean history,  history of food and culinary practices, business history.

Theses Advised

Benjamin Nathan ’15The Administrative Strategy of Thomas Stamford Raffles in Java 1811-1816