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Dr Pippa Virdee

Job: Reader 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


Social Media:


Personal profile

Pippa has established herself as a scholar of colonial history, particularly the region of the Punjab, which has been shaped by the 1947 Partition. Pippa also has an interest in the South Asian Disapora in Britain and the transformation of cities such as Leicester and Coventry. She is currently working on A Very Short Introduction to Pakistan (under contract with OUP). 

Pippa is currently the Programme Leader for MA History.

Key research outputs

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, 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

Current research students

Current PhD Students:

Sue Bishop, 'Mixed Romantic Relationships in post-war Leicester: Multiculturalism and the emotional complexities of Female Agency', AHRC M3C student jointly supervised at University of Leicester with Dr Sally Horrocks.

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.

Case studies

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, 

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

  • ‘70 years: Partition and Memory’, The Missing; memory, migration and Partition, Loughborough University London, 8 February 2018
  • ‘@70: dreams and legacies of a divided land’, To Draw The Line: Partitions, Dissonance, Art: A Case for South Asia, one-day symposium organised by THIRD TEXT at The Bluecoat, Liverpool, 15 November 2017.
  • ‘1947-2017: Creating new histories in India and Pakistan’, Plymouth branch of the Historical Association, 7 November 2017.
  • ‘1947-2017: Reflecting on the Partition of India/Pakistan’, Modern History Research Centre, University of Winchester, 9 October 2017.
  • Guest speaker at the after-performance talk, Pink Saree Revolution, Curve, Leicester, 3 October 2017.
  • ‘Freedom, fear and chaos: the end of empire in British India’, The long road to India's independence, National Army Museum, London, 2 September 2017.
  • Interdisciplinary workshop on the topic ‘Rethinking Contemporary Legacies of Partition: Cultures of Memorization, Popular Politics and Cross-Border Ethics in South Asia’ at the Center for Advanced Studies, LMU (Munich, Germany), 30 June 2017.
  • Fifth International Workshop on ‘Reviewing Citizenship and Nation-Building in Pakistan’, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. Organised by Hanns Seidel Foundation, Pakistan Office and Quaid-i-Azam University. Conducted a research methods session on the use of oral history in South Asia, 7-8 April 2017.
  • ‘Partition, Oral histories and 70 years of independence’, seminar on Historiography of 1947, Department of History, Guru Nanak Dev University (Amritsar, India), 10 March 2017.
  • Panel discussion on ‘People’s History’, Second Lyallpur Punjabi Literary Festival, 16 February 2017.