SOAS University of London

School of Law

Dr Kanika Sharma

BA Hons (Delhi), MA (JNU), MPhil (JNU), PhD in Law (London)
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Publications


Kana Sharma
School of Law

UG Deputy Exam Board Chair (Scrutiny)

SOAS South Asia Institute

Academic Staff, SOAS South Asia Institute

Centre for Asian Legal Studies


Dr Kanika Sharma
Email address:
+44 (0) 20 7898 4657
Paul Webley Wing (Senate House)
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
Tuesday 14.00-15.00 & Wednesdays 11:30 - 12:30


I joined SOAS after obtaining my PhD from Birkbeck College, University of London in 2016. In my thesis I used postcolonial and constitutional theories to examine the use of images and architecture in political trials. I also used psychoanalytic jurisprudence to analyse the relation between law and culture and the formation of the legal subject in colonial and post-colonial contexts.

Prior to starting my PhD in Law, I studied journalism and politics in New Delhi and worked in various capacities including as a reporter and photographer for a national daily, as a military historian and as a researcher for UNICEF.

My current research focuses on Indian colonial legal history, and I am presently working on two themes. Firstly, I am studying notions of female ‘consent’ in the age of consent debates in India from the late nineteenth century with a special emphasis on the renowned trial of Rukhmabai (1885). Secondly, I am looking at the ways in which law is performed and history is staged in relation to political trials. Towards this end, I am also working with a theatre director to dramatize the trial of the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar.

At SOAS I co-convene Legal Systems of Asia and Africa and Law and Society in South Asia and teach on the Public Law module. I am also the Chair of the Centre for Asian Legal Studies.



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



Sharma, Kanika (2020) 'Withholding Consent to Conjugal Relations within Child Marriages in Colonial India: Rukhmabai's Fight'. Law and History Review, (38) 1, pp 151-175.

Rossi, Federica and Sharma, Kanika (2018) 'Introduction: Objects of Memory and Rituals of Memorialisation as Fields of Struggle'. The London Journal of Critical Thought, (2) 1, pp 21-26.

Sharma, Kanika (2017) 'Mother India: The Role of the Maternal Figure in Establishing Legal Subjectivity'. Law and Critique, (29) 1, pp 1-29.

Book Chapters

Sharma, Kanika (2015) 'Spectacular Justice: Aesthetics and Power in the Gandhi Murder Trial'. In: Allo, Awol, (ed.), The Courtroom as a Space of Resistance. Farnham: Ashgate, pp 323-343.

Sharma, Kanika (2011) 'A Symbol of State Power: Use of the Red Fort in Indian Political Trials'. Ethics, Evil, Law and the State: State Power and Political Evil. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press.

Book Reviews

Sharma, Kanika (2019) 'Máiréad Enright, Julie McCandless and Aoife O’Donoghue (eds.): Northern/Irish Feminist Judgments: Judges’ Troubles and the Gendered Politics of Identity'. Feminist Legal Studies, (27) 3, pp 351-356.

Sharma, Kanika (2013) 'Review of: Wing-Cheong Chan, Barry Wright, Stanley Yeo (eds): Codification, Macaulay and the Indian Penal Code: The Legacies and Modern Challenges of Criminal Law Reform'. International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, (26) 4, pp 957-962.


This list was last generated on Friday, 3rd July 2020, 14:16 Europe/London.