Leigh Denault



Fellow and College Lecturer, Churchill College, Cambridge

ltd22 (at) cam (dot) ac (dot) uk


I am an historian and researcher at the University of Cambridge. I recently completed my PhD on the social, cultural and legal history of the family in colonial North India at the University of Cambridge ('Publicising Family in Colonial North India, c. 1780-1930', Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, 2009). I graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2001, majoring in modern European history, but also studying East Asia, South Asia, and the Atlantic world.

In addition to a monograph based on my PhD, my current research focuses on conceptions of social welfare in twentieth-century India. In particular, I am interested in the development of private-sector welfare and insurance organisations and their evolution alongside voluntary service associations and the welfare provisions of the colonial, and later independent, Indian state.

I teach world history, the history of the British Empire, the history of the Indian subcontinent from the eighteenth century to the present day, and population and development history in India for the History Faculty at Cambridge, and am a Fellow and College Lecturer at Churchill College, Cambridge.

More broadly, I am also interested in how digitization is transforming the practice of history, an interest that began as an undergraduate at Mount Holyoke, where I worked as a Mellon Web Technician for the Medieval Studies and History Departments. Prior to joining Churchill College, Cambridge as a Fellow and College Lecturer, I was a Research Associate with the Centre for History and Economics at King's College, Cambridge, working on their Digitization of History Project. Alongside an interest in North Indian languages and print cultures, I have started to explore some of the issues surrounding the digitization of South Asian historical sources.