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

Postgraduate Admissions & Recruitment Tutor (Term 1)

SOAS South Asia Institute

Academic Staff, SOAS South Asia Institute

Centre for Law in Asia


Dr Kanika Sharma
Email address:
+44 (0) 20 7898 4657
Paul Webley Wing (Senate House)
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
Thursdays 14:00 - 16:00


Book an appointment for Office Hours

Kanika co-convenes Legal Systems of Asia and Africa and Law and Society in South Asia at the SOAS School of Law, where she also teaches on the Public Law module. Since 2019, she has been the Chair of the Centre for Asian Legal Studies.

Her research interests broadly lie in the field of Indian colonial legal history, and she is presently working on two themes. Kanika  is examining the transplantation of the idea of restitution of conjugal rights within Hindu personal laws in the nineteenth century and their continued prevalence in India today. Kanika is also looking at the ways in which law is performed and history is staged in relation to political trials. Towards this end, she is also working with a theatre director to dramatize the trial of the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar.

In her previous work she has used postcolonial and constitutional theories to examine the use of images and architecture in political trials in India. Including using 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 her PhD in Law, she studied journalism and political theory 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 field researcher for UNICEF.

Kanika is the Review Editor 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.



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



Sharma, Kanika and Lammasniemi, Laura and Sarkar, Tanika (2021) 'Dadaji Bhikaji v Rukhmabai: Rewriting Consent and Conjugal Relations in Colonial India'. Indian Law Review, (5) 3, pp 265-287.

Lammasniemi, Laura and Sharma, Kanika (2021) 'Governing Conjugality: Social Hygiene and The Doctrine of Restitution of Conjugal Rights in England and India in the Nineteenth Century'. Australian Feminist Law Journal, (47) 1, pp 67-84.

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 (2018) 'Mother India: The Role of the Maternal Figure in Establishing Legal Subjectivity'. Law and Critique, (29) 1, pp 1-29.

Book Chapters

Sharma, Kanika (2020) 'Restitution of conjugal rights and the dissenting female body: The Rukhmabai Case'. In: Bonnerjee, Samraghni, (ed.), Subaltern Women’s Narratives: Strident Voices, Dissenting Bodies. London: Routledge.

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'. In: Foley, Aoife Padraigin, (ed.), Ethics, Evil, Law and the State: State Power and Political Evil. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press.

Book Reviews

Sharma, Kanika (2022) 'Colonial courts, judicial iconography and the Indian semiotic register'. Law and Humanities. [Forthcoming]

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 Thursday, 11th August 2022, 02:54 Europe/London.