Dr Manjeet Ramgotra

ISRF Independent Scholar Fellow 2020-21

Dr Manjeet Ramgotra

ISRF Independent Scholar Fellow 2020-21

Manjeet Ramgotra ISRF

Manjeet Ramgotra is a lecturer in Political Theory in the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS University London. She studied Politics and French at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. After living in France for a number of years, she wrote a PhD in political theory at the LSE on the conservative roots of republicanism in the history of western political thought. More recently, her research has developed to examine republicanism in the twentieth-century post-colonial moment, notably in the founding of the Indian republic. Manjeet is a strong advocate of decolonising the curriculum. She has reconceptualized her teaching to include more women, people of colour and to reconsider how we construct knowledge. Currently she is co-editing a new political theory textbook called Reconsidering Political Thinkers.

Postcolonial Republicanism: The Indian Founding and its Impact

India’s republican founding had massive repercussions across the world. It signalled the end of a global order structured on colonial empire and the beginning of a postcolonial world. India’s acquisition of independence created hope amongst other colonies to shed imperial rule and create independent sovereign republics. The Indian founding produced a well-designed and thoroughly thought through constitution established by an elected Constituent Assembly that debated the structures, institutions and values this republican constitution would embody. The architects of the constitution studied other existing constitutions and in turn the Indian example influenced the anticolonial movements and republican foundings across Africa and other parts of the colonised world. Indian anticolonialist activists were influenced by the creations of republics in Europe, Haiti and South America and by their ideals that circulated as people began to travel, share and produce new ideas in newspapers, letters and speeches. The circulation of ideas not only contributed to the creation of the Indian postcolonial republic, but also these ideas influenced European republican ideas and intellectual republican studies in the mid-twentieth century. This study examines the founding of the Indian republic, it looks at its intellectual origins and considers how this moment produced an innovative postcolonial conception of republicanism. My research contributes a new strand of thinking beyond mainstream Cambridge School understanding of republicanism that considers republicanism to be a neglected ideal in the history of western political thought. They claim to revive republicanism and provide it with a history that extends from the ancient to modern Enlightenment worlds, but they exclude contemporaneous postcolonial republican foundings. This project examines why the ideals and political activism of postcolonial republicanism do not figure in this mainstream western historical narrative. For these ideals constitute core republican conceptions of self-rule, public-spiritedness and freedom from domination. This study deepens our understanding of republicanism.

Contacting Fellows

If you would like to contact any of our Fellows to discuss their ISRF-funded work, please contact Dr Lars Cornelissen (Academic Editor) in the first instance, at lars.cornelissen@isrf.org.