University of Delhi
Faculty Member Profile


Prof. Upinder Singh

     Dept. of History,
Faculty of Social Sciences,
Delhi University, Delhi 110007

Educational Qualifications


McGill University


Thesis topic:  Kings, Brahmanas, and Temples in Orissa: an epigraphic study (300-1147 C.E.)

M.Phil  History

Delhi University


Subjects: Ancient Indian history

MA History

Delhi University


Subjects: Ancient India specialization

Career Profile

Dept. of History, Delhi University

Reader, Professor

2004 onwards

St. Stephen’ College, Delhi University

Lecturer, Reader


Areas of Specialization / Interest

Ancient Indian history

Subjects Taught

BA Honours and MA courses


17 Feb., 2009. Presented a paper titled “Nagarjunakonda: Interpreting the ruins of a Buddhist cosmopolis” at a Conference on “Buddhism Across Asia: Networks of Material, Intellectual and Cultural Exchange,” 16-18 Feb. 2009, organized by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore.

5 Oct. 2007. Presented a paper titled “A Buddhist Revival in a Globalized World: India and the Impact of the East” at a Conference organized by Ryukoku University, Kyoto, and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, in Kyoto, Japan.

29 Oct. 2006. Read a paper titled “Defining moments in ancient Indian history: literary and archaeological perspectives” at the Beijing Forum, Beijing, 27-29 Oct., 2006.

19 Sept. 2006. Presented a paper titled “Archaeologists and Architectural Scholars in Nineteenth Century India,” at a National Seminar on Historiography of Indian Art and Emergent Methodological Concerns, organized by the Dept. of History of Art, National Museum Institute, N. Delhi (Sept. 19-21).

27 Feb. 2006: Presented a paper titled ‘Ancient remains in the Delhi region and their medieval and modern transformations,’ in an interdisciplinary seminar on Delhi – ‘Dilli Jo Ek Tha, Aur Hoga… Delhi – That Once Was, and Will Be,’ organized by the Dept. of History, Delhi University in collaboration with The Sarai Programme, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

5 Nov., 2005: Presented a paper titled “Alexander Cunningham’s contribution to Indian archaeology,” at a National Seminar on the History of Archaeology in India, 5-8 November, at the Centre for Archaeological Studies and Training, Eastern India, Kolkata.

April 1994: Presented a paper on the inscriptions of Sanchi at a seminar 5-7 April) on Government and Society, Dept. of History, University of Delhi 

Research Projects (Major Grants/Research Collaboration)

National Coordinator for History, Institute for Lifelong Learning—National Mission for Education project. Project completed.

Nagarjunakonda: from prehistory to 2007 (for this, received a grant from Delhi University’s  scheme to strengthen R&D doctoral research programmes in 2007)

Awards and distinctions

Awarded the Infosys Award for Social Sciences – History, 2009

Was Visiting Professor at the University of Leuven, Belgium as the recipient of the Erasmus-Mundus Fellowship, May-June 2010.

Other Activities

Delivered Lectures

11 and 12 April, 2009. Delivered two lectures at Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan, on “Reconstructing ancient religions through material remains” and “Ancient India: the need for new histories.”

14 March, 2008. Delivered the Presidential Address, Ancient India section, at the 40th session of the Punjab History Conference, Patiala, on the theme: “Interrogating varna and jati in ancient and early medieval India.”

5 March, 2008. Gave a lecture titled “Nineteenth-century Indian archaeology and the role of photography” in the National Museum, New Delhi, as part of the inauguration of the exhibition titled “Photographic Splendour: Early Indian Heritage Views from the Vogel Collection, The Netherlands.”

15 Feb. 2008. Gave a lecture titled “Ancient Indian Historiography: New Perspectives,” at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow.

4 Dec. 2007. Gave a lecture titled “The adventures of three pillars,” in a seminar on “Delhi: Images, Imaginations and Perceptions” held at Kamala Nehru College, New Delhi.

22 Aug. 2006: Delivered the second Sir Sobha Singh Memorial Lecture on Delhi at the India International Centre, New Delhi. Title of lecture: “Discovering the Ancient in Modern Delhi.” An excerpted version of this lecture was telecast on Lok Sabha Television and also aired on All India Radio.

2 Dec., 2005: Gave a lecture titled “The History of Archaeology in 19th century India” in the Institute of Archaeology, New Delhi.

25 April 2005: Delivered a lecture titiled “Amaravati—the modern history of an ancient Buddhist site” at the University of Michigan.

14 April 2005: Delivered the Tarak Nath Das Lecture at Yale University on “Amaravati: the modern history of an ancient Buddhist monument.”

15 March, 2005: Delivered a lecture titled “The case of the disappearing stupa: the modern history of ancient Amaravati,” in the South Asia Without Borders Seminar series at Harvard University.


2010. “Discovering the ancient in Modern Delhi,” In Mala Dayal ed. Celebrating Delhi. Ravi Dayal Publishers and Penguin-Viking.

2009. “Alexander Cunningham’s Contributions to Indian Archaeology,” in Gautma Sengupta and Kaushik Gangopadhyay, Archaeology in India: Individuals, Ideas and Institutions. New Delhi, Munshiram Manoharlal, in association with the Centre for Archaeological Studies & Training, Eastern India, Kolkata.

2009. “Interrogating varna and jati in ancient and early medieval India.” Presidential Address, Ancient India section, in Punjab History Conference Proceedings volume, (40th session) March 14-16, 2008. Punjabi University, Patiala.  

2008. “Brahmana Settlements in Ancient and Early Medieval India.” In B.D. Chattopadhyaya ed. A Social History of Early India. New Delhi. Pearson ongman. Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture.

2006.  “Early Medieval Orissa: the data and the debate,” in Martin Brandtner and Shishir Kumar Panda eds. Interrogating History: Essays for Herman Kulke, N. Delhi, Manohar.

2004. “Documentation and Destruction: The Case of Amaravati (1797-1886),” in Himanshu Prabha Ray and Carla M. Sinopoli eds. Archaeology as History in Early South Asia, New Delhi, Indian Council for Historical Research and Aryan Books.

1999: Co-authored with Nayanjot Lahiri: “In the shadow of Delhi: Understanding the     landscape through village eyes.” In Peter J. Ucko and Robert Layton edited, The Archaeology and Anthropology of  Landscape (Routledge, 1999). This paper was presented at the 1994 World Archaeological Congress, New Delhi.