Divya Cherian is a historian of early modern South Asia, with an interest in social, cultural, and religious history, ethics and law, and the local and the everyday. Her research focuses on western India, chiefly on the region that is today Rajasthan.
Divya is currently working on a book manuscript,The Power of Virtue: Hindus and Untouchables in Eighteenth-Century India, that investigates the effects on the state and society of the rise of merchants as an economic and political force in early modern South Asia. In doing so, the study places centrality on the role of law, ethics, and morality in the reshaping of both social identity and state form. Her research has received the support of the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Columbia University, and the Indian Council for Historical Research. Divya has begun work on a new project on gender, sexuality, and law in early modern South Asia. She is also developing a smaller project on animals and magic in the eighteenth century.
At Princeton, Divya will teach an introductory survey to the history of medieval and early modern South Asia, an undergraduate seminar on caste and religious identities in pre-modern South Asia, and a graduate seminar on major debates in early modern South Asian history.
Divya comes to Princeton after a year as a postdoctoral fellow at the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis in New Brunswick. She received a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University, an M.Phil. and an M.A. in History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and a B.A. from the University of Delhi.
"Fall from Grace? Caste, Bhakti, and Politics in Late Eighteenth-Century Marwar," in Bhakti & Power: Debating India's Religion of the Heart, eds. John S. Hawley, Christian L. Novetzke, & Swapna Sharma (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2019).