Professor Pippa Virdee

Job: Professor of 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


Social Media:


Personal profile

I joined DMU in 2006, shortly after completing my PhD at Coventry University. My teaching and research have focused on colonial history, particularly the region of the Punjab, which has been shaped by the 1947 Partition. Throughout my time at DMU, I have developed and taught courses on British India: 1857-1947 and Borders and Boundaries, which explored the post-colonial history of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

I am currently Head of History and teach on a number of modules across the BA History programme. I am happy to discuss any proposals, if you are interested in pursuing a PhD.

My current interests are related to revisiting local history via the transformation of cities such as Leicester and Coventry. I am also working on a monograph on women's history in Pakistan. 

Key research outputs

Pakistan: A Very Short Introduction(Oxford University Press, 2021). 

From the Ashes of 1947. Reimgining Punjab. (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

'Women and Pakistan International Airlines in Ayub Khan's Pakistan.The International History Review (2018).

With Arafat Safdar. 'From Mano Majra to Faqiranwalla: Revisiting the Train to Pakistan.South Asia Chronicle (2018).

Research interests/expertise

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. More recently she has been exploring the impact of new technologies on memory and memorialisation and women's history in Pakistan. 

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

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

  • Fellow, Royal Historical Society
  • Punjab Research Group, Convenor 2007-2015
  • Oral History Society

Externally funded research grants information

Visiting fellowship at the Centre for Governance and Policy, ITU (Lahore, Pakistan) 2016 – 2017.

Short-term visiting research fellowship for foreign scholars, Higher Education Commission, Pakistan (September – November 2016).

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

I have extensive experience of examining PhDs both in the UK and abroad. I regularly provide peer-reviews for journals, manuscripts, and grants proposals.

Newspaper/other publications 

  • Regularly maintain and publish on my own Blog:
  • ‘Lessons from Malerkotla’National Herald, 6 October 2019.
  • ‘The Trouble with Nostalgia’The Friday Times July 2019.
  • Corridor of Opportunity’, Asian Affairs, January 2019, pp. 46-7.
  • Sikh shrines in India and Pakistan – why construction of visa-free Kartarpur corridor is so historic’, The Conversation, 5 Dec 2018.
  • No Man’s land: the Wagah-Attari Border, LSE South Asia Blog, August 2017 (commissioned).
  • Freedom and Fear: India and Pakistan at 70, The Diplomat August 2017 (commissioned cover article).
  • Foreward. Kiyotaka Sato, Life Story of Mr Ram Krishen, (Research Centre for the History of Religious and Cultural Diversity, Meiji University, Tokyo, 2016).
  • ‘Revive the Past to Protect the Future’, Asian Affairs, May 2016
  • ‘The coming of the jet age: women, advertising and tourism in Pakistan.’ The News on Sunday, 23 November 2014. 
  • ‘Recovering history through nostalgia’ The News on Sunday August 24, 2014. 
  • Foreward. 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).
  • ‘The Heart Divided: Muted Narratives and the Partition of the Punjab’ Transactions of the Leicester Literary & Philosophical Society, 2010, Volume 104, pp. 22-24.
  • Review article of Lucy Chester, Borders and Conflict in South Asia. The Radcliffe Boundary Commission and the Partition of Punjab (Manchester, 2009) in Reviews in History, review no. 995.
  • ‘From the Belgrave Road to the Golden Mile: the transformation of Asians in Leicester’, From Diasporas to Multi-Locality: Writing British Asian Cities, Working Paper (WBAC 006), 30 June 2009, pp. 1–18.
  • ‘Pakistan: women's quest for entitlement’, Open Democracy, 9 April 2009.


I have provided assistance to a number of media outlets regarding various TV and radio programmes. These include, the BBC, BBC Radio Four, BBC Asian Network, BBC Radio Leicester, ITV, and numerous foreign media outlets amongst others. Most recently my contributions were included in BBC One programme, ‘My Family, Partition and Me: India 1947’ (2017). 

Recent conferences/public talks



    • Podcast. ‘Remembering Partition in the Punjab: Part 1 and 2’. Realms of Memory. August 2023.
    • ‘The Challenges of Memory as History: a case study of India’s Partition’. Nottingham Trent University Research seminar. 10 May 2023.
    • ‘Connecting Pakistan’s Material and Cultural heritage: the past in the present.’ The HSS Annual Conference, Pakistan: Revisiting the Past. Reimagining the Future, 13-15 March.
    • From Silences to Virtual Memories: Partition History in the Digital Age. South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg. 2 February, 2023
    • Plenary Talk, ‘”Five Thousand years of Pakistan”: the ancient in the modern?’ The Pakistan Conference: 75 Years of Independence, 29-30 November, 2022 Mittal Institute, Harvard University.
    • VSI Book Talk at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, October 2022
    • ‘From Silences to Virtual Memories: 75 years of Partition Studies’ Plenary address, British Association of South Asian Studies, 31 March 2022.