Dr Shinjini Das

  • Colonial Medicine
  • Colonial Christianity
  • British Empire
  • Modern South Asia

Over the years my research has covered various aspects of histories of colonial medicine. It ranges from histories of western medicine/public health in India (examining English-language archives of the colonial state and global missionary societies) to indigenous medical cultures in South Asia (drawing on vernacular-language sources including classified documents preserved in family-based archives).

My first monograph Vernacular Medicine in Colonial India: Family, Market and Homoeopathy (Cambridge University Press, Dec 2018, forthcoming) explores how colonized people engaged with and reshaped western medicine. Combining insights from the history of colonial medicine and the cultural histories of family in British India, the book examines the processes through which Western homoeopathy was translated and indigenised in the colony as a symbol of Indian nationalism, a specific Hindu religious worldview, an economic vision and a disciplining regimen of life.

My current project at Oxford critically analyses the role of British Protestant missions and transnational humanitarianism in the making of colonial public health in India. I examine the theologically shaped ideas of missionaries on disease and healing. While tracing the relationship of medical missions with the colonial (and the post-colonial) state, I track the collaboration as well as resistance of Indians to these missions. I am particularly focusing on missionary engagement with control of leprosy, famines and venereal diseases.

I have collaboratively organised conferences on themes such as ‘The Bible, Race and Nation in the 19th c’ (Cambridge, 2014) and ‘Orientalism and Its Institutions’ (Cambridge, 2016). A co-edited volume on the relationship between Christianity, imperialism and nineteenth-century ideas of race is currently under consideration with the Cambridge University Press.


Coming soon: Vernacular Medicine in Colonial India: Family, Market and Homoeopathy 


  • Chosen Peoples, Promised Lands: Bible, Race and Empire in the Nineteenth Century (co-edited volume, under consideration with Cambridge University Press)

  • Vernacular Medicine in Colonial India: Family, Market and Homoeopathy Cambridge University Press, Dec 2018 (forthcoming)

  • An Imperial Apostle? St Paul, Protestant Conversion, and South Asian Christianity

  • Biography and Homoeopathy in Bengal: Colonial lives of a European heterodoxy

  • Innovating Indigeneity, Reforming Domesticity: Nationalizing Homoeopathy in Colonial Bengal

  • More

I currently teach:

FHS Masters
Medicine, Empire and Improvement Methods and Themes in the History of Medicine



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