SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Dr Simona Vittorini

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Simona Vittorini
Department of Politics and International Studies

Senior Lecturer in Politics

SOAS South Asia Institute

Academic Staff, SOAS South Asia Institute

Dr Simona Vittorini
Email address:
+44(0) 20 7898 4573
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
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Academic Support Hours:
Wednesdays 11:00am -1:00pm


Dr Simona Vittorini is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies where she lectures undergraduate and postgraduate courses on the comparative politics of Asia and Africa. 

She specialises in South Asian politics and the main focus of her work is on postcolonial nationalism, processes of construction of collective identities and performative and symbolic politics. Simona’s book, Rituals, Symbols and Politics of Indian Nationalism was published in 2009 and she is the author of other articles and book chapters on post-independence nation-building and symbolic politics in India 

Simona’s current research also focuses on India as an emerging power. With David Harris, she has co-authored a number of chapters and articles on India’s expanding presence in Africa and South-South Development Cooperation. 

 Previously Simona also lectured at Birkbeck College, London Metropolitan University and at the University of Milan-Bicocca.



Simona Vittorini’s research is focused on South Asian politics with special reference to India. 

Her areas of interest include: comparative politics of South Asia; performative and symbolic politics; theories of nationalism and identity formation; India domestic politics; Hindu nationalism; India-Africa relations and South-South Development cooperation. 

Simona regularly works as a consultant. Clients included: UKTI, Zurich Insurance, CMS Cameron McKenna, the Swedish Ambassador to India and the Swedish Special Envoy to Afghanistan, UNICEF Country Representative to India, the NATO Parliamentary Subcommittee South Asia. 

She also provides commentary on contemporary political developments in India to national broadcast media in the UK and Italy (Financial Times, BBC, NBC News, Channel 4, Islam Channel TV, Voice of America (VOA) Aaj Tak, Radio Popolare (Italy)).

She received her PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies


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Regional Expertise
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Country Expertise
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Authored Books

Harris, David and Vittorini, Simona (2016) India in Africa: The Politics of South-South Cooperation.. Hurst. [Forthcoming]

Vittorini, Simona (2009) Rituals, Symbols and Politics of Indian Nationalism. Torino: Trauben.


Vittorini, Simona (2022) 'Modi à la mode: Narendra Modi’s fashion and the performance of populist leadership'. Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, (60) 3, pp 276-297.

Harris, David and Vittorini, Simona (2018) 'Taking ‘development cooperation’ and South-South discourse seriously: Indian claims and Ghanaian responses'. Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, (56) 3, pp 360-378.

Vittorini, Simona (2014) 'Two bullocks, a ladder and a lamp: electoral symbols in Nehruvian India'. Nations and Nationalism, (20) 2, pp 297-316.

Vittorini, Simona (2014) 'The Two Yoked Bullocks, The Ladder And The Lamp. India’s Electoral Symbols As Vehicles Of National Identity'. Nations and Nationalism, (20) 2, pp 297-316.

Vittorini, Simona (2002) 'Party Symbolism and Elections in India'. Quaderni di Scienza Politica, (2) 3, pp 555-611.

Book Chapters

Harris, David and Vittorini, Simona (2015) 'What Does ‘Development Cooperation’ Mean? Perceptions from India and Africa'. In: Sullivan, Kate, (ed.), Competing Visions of India in World Politics. Palgrave Macmillan, pp 94-110.

Vittorini, Simona and Harris, David (2011) 'India Goes Over to the Other Side: Indo-West African Relations in the 21st Century'. In: Mawdsley, Emma and McCann, Gerard, (eds.), India in Africa: changing geographies in power. Oxdord: Fahamu Books.

Vittorini, Simona and Harris, David (2011) 'New Topographies Of Power? Africa Negotiating An Emerging Multipolar World'. In: Dietz, Ton, (ed.), African Engagements. Netherlands: Brill, pp 280-299.

Vittorini, Simona (2010) 'Post-colonial South Asia: Religion and Society'. In: Johnson, W. J. and Hegarty, J., (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Hindu Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Forthcoming]

Vittorini, Simona (2009) 'La locomotiva asiatica per una nuova cooperazione Sud-Sud [Asian Drivers - South-South Cooperation in the 21st Century]'. In: Calchi Novati, Gian Paolo, (ed.), Asia. Una transazione sostenibile. Roma: Carocci.

Vittorini, Simona (2009) ''This is our India'. I documentari della Films Division e la costruzione della nazione indiana'. In: Casci, Simonetta, (ed.), L'India nel cinema : democrazia e cinema nell'India di Nehru. Turin, Italy: UTET, pp 134-152.

Vittorini, Simona (2008) 'India’s States: Differences and Similarities in a Developing Country'. Asia Major: L'India tra i grandi. Rome: Carocci.

Vittorini, Simona (2004) 'Travels and Collections as Metaphors of Colonial Domination'. In: Bresciani, Edda and Betrò, Marilina, (eds.), Egypt in India. Egyptian Antiquities in Indian Museums. Pisa University Press, pp 21-33.

Vittorini, Simona (2001) 'India’s XIII Lok Sabha Electoral Campaign'. Cultural and Political Identities in India. Pavia: Facoltà di scienze politiche dell'Università di Pavia; Milano: A. Giuffrè.


Vittorini, Simona (2013) 'Storia dell'India e dell'Asia del Sud Compresi Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan e Sri Lanka' .

Conference Items

Vittorini, Simona (2015) 'A Nehru-lite Third India-Africa Forum Summit' In: SSAI Panel Discussion: A Nehru-lite Third India-Africa Forum Summit.

Book Reviews

Vittorini, Simona (2015) 'Indian foreign policy: ambition and transition'. Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, (53) 2, pp 224-226.

Vittorini, Simona (2008) 'Review of Srirupa Roy, 'Beyond Belief: India and the Politics of Post-colonial Nationalism''. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, (8) 2, pp 369-371.

Opinion Pieces / Media / Blogs

Vittorini, Simona (2016) Africa Day.

Vittorini, Simona (2015) India-Africa Summit: Will it give a new thrust to age-old ties?.

Vittorini, Simona (2015) Power and Pageantry in Modi’s India.


This list was last generated on Saturday, 1st October 2022, 23:09 Europe/London.