School of Law, Gender and Media

Dr Kanika Sharma

Key information

School of Law, Gender and Media Senior Lecturer in Law Centre for Law in Asia Member SOAS South Asia Institute Member Centre for Gender Studies Member
BA Hons (Delhi), MA (JNU), MPhil (JNU), PhD in Law (London)
Paul Webley Wing (Senate House)
Email address
Telephone number
+44 (0) 20 7898 4657
Support hours
Mondays: 12:00 - 14:00.

See link in Bio to book appointments.


I co-convene the core module Introduction to Law in Asia and Africa 1: Concepts and Structures (previously Legal Systems of Asia and Africa). 

I am also the co-convenor and the India specialist for Law, Religion and the State in South Asia (PG) and Law and Society in South Asia (UG) at the SOAS School of Law, Gender, and Media. I have previously taught on the Public Law and Equity modules at SOAS and am a Fellow of the HEA.

My research interests lie in the field of South Asian colonial legal history, the development of notions of sexual consent in India, and law’s relation with images, performance, and history. I employ postcolonial and constitutional theories to examine the use of images and architecture in India to analyse the relation between law, performance, and culture and the formation of the legal subject in colonial and post-colonial contexts. In my study of law and performance, I am particularly interested in the political trials of the last Mughal Emperor of India, Bahadur Shah Zafar (1858) and that of Gandhi’s assassins (1948). I am currently also using law and image theories to analyse the new use of web streaming in legal trials in India and the UK.

I have also worked and published extensively on colonial ideas of sexual consent, the development of suits for restitution of conjugal rights in India, and on the life and trial of India’s first female doctor, Dr Rukhmabai. My co-written article on the Rukhmabai case offered a rewritten feminist judgment located in 1886 and won the Indian Law Review Best Article Prize 2021. For my contributions to legal history, I have been awarded an Associate Fellowship of the Royal Historical Society.

I come from an interdisciplinary background, and prior to starting my PhD in Law in the UK, I studied journalism and political theory in New Delhi. I have also worked in various capacities including as a reporter and photographer for a national daily, as a military historian, and as a field researcher for UNICEF in Bihar.

I am on the editorial board for South Asia Research, a member of the advisory board for the Birkbeck Law Review, and a member of the steering committee for the USI-NAM British-Indian Military Heritage Partnership.

I welcome PhD proposals for projects that wish to examine issues of sexual consent and women’s rights in India (in the contemporary era and/or their historical development); to analyse the use of images and architecture by the law; and in the field of colonial legal history of South Asia broadly understood. More theoretical proposals on psychoanalytic jurisprudence, constitutional law, law and legal subjectivity, and other aspects of critical legal theory are also welcome.

Research interests

Law and colonialism; Law and society in South Asia (especially gender issues); Law, image, and architecture; Psychoanalytic jurisprudence; Critical legal theory

PhD Supervision

Name Title
Sanjit Nagi The 20th century British Labour Party's shift away from rights rooted in an Ethical Society and Untrammelled Sovereignty
Mini Saxena Conditional sexual consent: Operationalizing the response to breaches of conditional consent in Indian law
Atreyee Sengupta Rethinking feminist engagements with anti-sexual harassment institutions: a study of university spaces in India
Atreyee Sengupta Rethinking Feminist Engagement with Institutional Anti-Sexual Harassment Mechanisms: A Study of University Spaces in India


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