Dr Pippa Virdee

Job: Senior Lecturer in Modern South Asian History

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 207 8595

E: pvirdee@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/humanities


Personal profile

Pippa’s area of academic interest is in British colonial history, the history of the Punjab, especially the Partition and its legacies, the construction of identity in colonial and post-colonial India and Pakistan. 

Her work focuses particularly on the marginalised voices of Partition in an attempt to highlight the value and contribution of these silent voices. Recently Pippa has been successful in getting funding for a two-year research project from the Gerda Henkel Foundation. This project continues with her interest in women and their contribution to national histories in Pakistan.  She has established herself as a scholar of colonial history, particularly the region of the Punjab, the impact and redevelopment of cities affected by mass displacement, and more recently analysing this from a gendered perspective. This latest research examines the role of women and gender politics in an Islamic society such as Pakistan, which has undergone so much change in the past sixty years. Pippa also has an interest in the South Asian Disapora in Britain and the transformation of cities such as Leicester and Coventry. 

Publications and outputs 


Click here for a full listing of Pippa Virdee's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

‘No-mans Land’ and the Creation of Partitioned Histories in India/Pakistan in Remembering Genocide, eds Nigel Eltringham and Pam Maclean, Series Title: Remembering The Modern World, General Editors: David Lowe and Tony Joel (Routledge, 2014)

‘Remembering Partition: women, oral histories and the partition of 1947’ for consideration in Oral History, 2013, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp. 49-61.

With Panikos Panayi (eds), Refugees and the End of Empire: Imperial Collapse and Forced Migration during the Twentieth Century (Palgrave, 2011)

‘Negotiating the Past: Journey through Muslim Women’s Experience of Partition and Resettlement’ Cultural and Social History, 2009, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp. 467–484

With Panikos Panayi (eds), Refugees and the End of Empire: Imperial Collapse and Forced Migration during the Twentieth Century (Palgrave, 2011)

‘‘No Home but in Memory’: The Legacies of Colonial Rule in the Punjab’ in, P. Panayi and P. Virdee (eds) Refugees and the End of Empire: Imperial Collapse and Forced Migration during the Twentieth Century. (Palgrave, 2011) [link to Palgrave: http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=356448]

‘The Heart Divided: Muted Narratives and the Partition of the Punjab’ Transactions of the Leicester Literary & Philosophical Society, 2010, Volume 104, pp. 22-24 

‘Negotiating the Past: Journey through Muslim Women’s Experience of Partition and Resettlement’ Cultural and Social History, 2009, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp. 467–484

Areas of teaching

  • The making of the modern world; 
  • British colonial history; 
  • Modern history of India and Pakistan. 


  • BA (Hons) International and Political Studies, Coventry University, 1996
  • PhD History, Coventry University, 2005

Courses taught

  • HIST1009 The Making of the Modern World
  • HIST2008 British India 1857-1947 
  • HIST3040 Borders and Boundaries: the transformation of India and Pakistan

Honours and awards

In April 2009 Pippa was given an award by the Panjabis In Britain All Party Parliamentary Group at the House of Commons for her contribution to the promotion of Panjabi culture through outstanding research and publications. 

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • Punjab Research Group, Convenor since 2007
  • British Association for South Asian Studies
  • European Association for Modern South Asian Studies
  • Women’s History Network

Conference attendance

  • 20 May 2014 – Chaired and participated in live public panel discussion on collecting and archiving oral histories with the Citizens Archive of Pakistan and The Indian Memory Project at the Alchemy Festival, Southbank, London.
  • 18 May 2014 – Interview and Chaired a live public talk with Prince Nawabzada Mohsin Ali Khan, the last descendant of the Nazims of Hyderabad. This was organized by the Citizens Archive of Pakistan and was part of the Alchemy Festival at the Southbank, London.
  • 14-15 Apr 2014 – Invited to participate at Foreman Christian College, Department of History Conference on Pakistan Creation and Consolidation, ‘Partition Legacies: Memorialising the Memories’.
  • 2014 – Invited to speak at the Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge. Paper presented ‘The most relaxing way to fly’: Women, PIA and the making of ‘modern’ Pakistan. 
  • 2013 – Invited to speak at GC University, Faisalabad. Lecture on the Emergence of women in Pakistani politics.
  • 2013 – Invited to speak at University of Management Technology, Lahore. Lecture on 'Refugees and the end of empire: imperial collapse in the 21st century’.
  • 2013 – Invited to speak at Department of History and Pakistan Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore Conference on Socio Economic Cooperation between India and Pakistan. Paper presented, ‘Travelling across borders and boundaries: a tale of two sweet vendors’.
  • 2013 – Invited to Chair the session on ‘Ugandan-Asian Exodus: Press from 1972’ South Asian Literature Festival, London Metropolitan Archives.
  • 2013 – Invited to speak at the international conference, ‘The Long Reach of World War II: Forced Migration in a Global Perspective, 1939-1951.’ Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto (forthcoming). ‘Religion, violence and the state: forced migration and the partition of India.’
  • 2013 – International Federation for Research in Women’s History and the Women’s History Network annual conference, Sheffield Hallam University, 29 August to 1 September 2013. Paper presented, ‘Exploring the disjuncture’s in Pakistani women’s history.’
  • 2013 – Invited to speak at the international workshop, ‘Oral History in South Asia: practices, uses and possibilities.’ Royal Holloway, University of London, Paper presented, ‘Capturing the voices of a divided Punjab.’

Consultancy work

Consultancy work on the development of the BBC Urdu service for the Open University and the BBC World Service.

Academic consultant for the ‘The Punjab: Moving Journey’ exbhition at the Royal Geographical Society. 

Network member on the ‘Writing British Asian Cities’ networks project. Project website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/brasian/index.htm

Current research students

PhD Students:

Vimal Patel, Caste in Britain: The Evolution of Hindu Gujarati caste Identity in India and Leicester.

Chris Zembe, Overcoming Colonial and Post-colonial Ethnic and Racial Prejudices: The Construction of a Zimbabwean Community in Britain.

Externally funded research grants information

Two-year research project from 2012-1014. €51,512.50 provided by the Gerda Henkel Foundation on ‘Gender Politics: Islam, the State and Women in Pakistan History.’

2007: Small Research Grant of £5,760 by the British Academy on ‘Examining Muslim women’s experience of partition, migration and resettlement in the West Punjab, 1947-1962.’

Professional esteem indicators

PhD examiner for Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad and University of Punjab, Lahore. 

I have reviewed a number of articles, book proposals, and grant applications in the UK, South Asia and in the US and Canada. 

Case studies

I have provided assistance to a number of media outlets regarding various programmes. These include, BBC local and national TV, BBC Radio Four, BBC Radio Leicester, ITV’s Tonight programme amongst others. 

Pippa Virdee was the academic consultant for the Royal Geographical Society exhibition on ‘The Punjab: Moving Journey’, it received very positive feedback from the South Asian population in the UK, evident in some of the comments left in the visitor’s comment book:

“Thank you for going to the trouble to put this unique exhibition together. My father served in the Punjab Frontier Force Rifles (Piffers) during World War II and held a life-long love of the country and respect for its soldiers. Fascinating history.”

“Being a British Punjabi girl I found this exhibition very insightful and it helped me find my identity and learn about my roots. This exhibition is excellent for the young Indian and Pakistani generation living here in England.”

Pippa Virdee’s work on the promotion of Punjabi culture and identity more generally was also recognized by a House of Commons award in 2009. She also manages and is the convener for Punjab Research Group, www.theprg.co.uk 

Newspaper/other publications 

‘Recovering history through nostalgia’ The News on Sunday August 24, 2014.  http://tns.thenews.com.pk/recovering-history-through-nostalgia/#.VCAUvecpOHl

Forward for Kiyotaka Sato, Life Story of Mr Sarup Singh and Mrs Gurmit Kaur, (Research Centre for the History of Religious and Cultural Diversity, Meiji University, Tokyo, 2012)

‘The Punjab: migrations and memories of the homeland’ Asian Voice (2012)


Search Who's Who

News target area image

DMU is a dynamic university, read about what we have been up to in our latest news section.

Events target area image

At DMU there is always something to do or see, check out our events for yourself.

Mission and vision target area image
Mission and vision

Read about our mission and vision and how these create a supportive and exciting learning environment.