Sunny Kumar

Name: Sunny Kumar

Designation: Assistant Professor


Office : 4F9, Academic Block 1

Education PhD. (History), Department of History, University of Delhi (2019).

M. Phil. (History), Department of History, University of Delhi (2013).

M.A. (History), Hindu College, University of Delhi (2010).

B.A. (History), Hindu College, University of Delhi (2008).

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Employment Assistant Professor, Miranda House, University of Delhi (July 2016-July 2023).

Assistant Professor, St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi (February 2016-July 2016).

Assistant Professor, Miranda House, University of Delhi, (July 2015-December 2015).

Areas of Research History of Politics and Political Thought; Global Conceptual and Intellectual History; Legal History and Jurisprudence; History of Colonial Punjab.

Research Focus In my published and forthcoming works, I navigate the fields of political history and political thought, legal history, and intellectual and conceptual history. Through my writings on revolutionary anti-colonial politics, I have investigated the genealogy of concepts like ‘terrorism’ and ‘illegitimacy of violence’ in the evolution of modern politics and explored the limits of ‘legitimate’ politics in a colonial setting. My research on legal history questions the presumed antithesis between colonial and metropolitan jurisprudence and traces their shared origins in modern British political thought.

I am presently working on a political biography of Lajpat Rai and his contemporaries. It addresses the historiographical gap in existing scholarship which has failed to develop a comprehensive framework which can reason with the amalgam of Rai’s political experiences and ideas. It also attempts to re-evaluate the political history of colonial Punjab by investigating the complex interplay between forces of colonialism, sectarianism, loyalism, and nationalism in the province. By doing so, it delineates the emergence of a modern political subject in colonial India, which was at unease with the existing ideas of liberalism, secularism, and political democracy. In this sense, the book explores an alternative history of the faultlines of political liberalism which get magnified in a colonial setting, and brings out the historically integral relationship between liberalism and colonialism.

Teaching HSS626 Economic History of Modern India.

Selected Publications

  “Is Indian Sedition Law Colonial? J.F. Stephen and the jurisprudence on free speech” in The Indian Economic and Social History Review, Oct-Dec 2021, Vol. 58, Issue 4, pp. 477-504.

  “Ghadar Movement after a Century: A Study in its History and Historiography” in NMML Occasional Paper, History and Society, New Series – 91, 2017.

  “Terrorism’, or the Illegitimacy of Politics in Colonial India” in Social Scientist Vol. 44, March- April 2016, pp. 41-55, Page no. 1-22.

  ‘The Impact of Colonial Rule on the Indian Economy’ in G.N. Devy, Tony Joseph and Ravi Korisettar (ed.) The Indians: Histories of a Civilisation, Aleph Book Company, New Delhi: 2023.

  ‘Delhi: A History of the Last Millennium” in G.N. Devy, Tony Joseph and Ravi Korisettar (ed.) The Indians: Histories of a Civilisation, Aleph Book Company, New Delhi: 2023.

Fellowships and Awards

1. Charles Wallace Short Term Fellowship 2017.

2. UGC NET Junior Research Fellowship 2010-2012 and Senior Research Fellowship 2013-15.

3. Bhasin Memorial Award for First Position in M.A. First Year Examinations.


Member of the coordinating committee of ‘South Asia Global History Network’ (SAGHN).

Member of Historians Collective, a public-facing academic group which engages with popular narratives about history and dispels fabrications and propaganda.