Aparna Kapadia

Assistant Professor of History

Hollander Hall Rm 253

Spring 2018 Class Hours

Mon/Wed – 11:00 am to 12:15 pm

Office Hours

Mon – 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
(and by appointment)


B.A. St. Xavier's College, Mumbai University (1998)
M.A. Jawaharlal Nehru University (2001)
M.Phil. Jawaharlal Nehru University, History (2005)
Ph.D. University of London, History (2010)

Current Committees

  • Global Studies


Aparna Kapadia is a historian of South Asia. Her research interests include the cultural and literary history of pre-modern and modern South Asia, Indian regional traditions, and the Indian Ocean. She has co-edited a volume entitled The Idea of Gujarat: History, Ethnography and Text (2010) and is the author of several journal articles. She is currently working on a monograph exploring the mutually constitutive relationship between literature and political culture in pre-colonial Gujarat, western India.

Aparna has an undergraduate degree in history from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai and MA and MPhil degrees from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She received her PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in 2010 and subsequently held a Mellon Post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford. She was Assistant Professor of History at Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) before coming to Williams College in 2013.

Selected Publications

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.

Theses Advised

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