Professor Peter Robb

Key information

Emeritus Professor Academic Staff, SOAS South Asia Institute
BA (Wellington), PhD (London)
Email address


Peter Robb studied English and History at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, until 1966. At Victoria, he became a senior scholar in 1966 and a Junior Lecturer in History in 1967. He was a Commonwealth Scholar during the years of 1967-1970 and was awarded a PhD from SOAS in 1971.

Professor Robb has held appointments at SOAS since 1971; most significantly as Pro-Director of the School for five years until the end of the 2007/8 session, and before that as Head of the Department of History, and Chair of the Centre of South Asian Studies.

He is currently Research Professor of the History of India.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the Royal Asiatic Society, where he is currently a member of Council. He has been chair of the Council of the Society for South Asian Studies and of the British Association for South Asian Studies, and a member of the British Academy's South Asia panel.

Previous PhD Students

Ezra Rashkow, 'The Nature Of Endangerment: Histories Of Hunting, Wildlife, And Forest Socities In Western And Central India, 1857-1947', 2008

Prabhu Narain Bapu, 'Constructing Nation And History: Hindu Mahasabha In Colonial North India 1915-1928', 2010

Sohini Dasgupta, 'Contending Authenticities: Representations of 'Hindu Custom' in Late Nineteenth Century Colonial Bengal', 2010

Sanjukta Ghosh, 'Colonial State, Agricultural Knowledge Transfers And Indigenous Response: Bengal Presidency 1870-1930', 2010

Tara Lynn Mayer, 'Clothing And The Imperial Image: European Dress, Identitiy And Authority In Late Eighteenth And Early Nineteenth Century North India', 2010

Aditya Sarkar, 'Regulated Labour, Unruly Workers: The Making Of Industrial Relations In Late Nineteenth-Century Bombay 1917-1948', 2010

Valerie Ellen Rourke Anderson, 'The Eurasian Problem in Nineteenth Century India', 2012

Upal Chakrabarti, 'Interconnections of the Political: British Political Economy, Agrarian Governance, and Early Nineteenth-century Cuttack (1803-1850)', 2013

Anushay Malik, 'Narrowing Politics: The Labour Movement in Lahore 1947-1974', 2013

Aparajita Mukhopadhyay, 'Wheels of Change? Impact of Railways on Colonial North Indian Society, 1855-1920', 2013

Research interests

Some 21 students have received their PhDs under Peter Robb's supervision. In 2010, 5 more are expected to be awarded their degrees.
Currently he is supervising 4 other PhD students.

Peter Robb was the founding editor of a collected papers series and one for monographs, published by Curzon Press (now Routledge), and of the SOAS Studies on South Asia published by Oxford University Press.

His own current research interests are represented in two forthcoming books on early Calcutta (Kolkata), namely Sex and Sensibility, and Sentiment and Self, based on the Blechynden diaries in the British Library. He is also undertaking a new revised edition of his History of India for Palgrave Macmillan.


Contact Peter