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Santhosh Abraham
Basic Information
IIT Madras
Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor

Dept of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras

Chennai, TN  

Additional Information
About My Work
I examine the growth of Calicut in Malabar coast as an Urban location from Pre-colonial to colonial periods. The concept looks at the transition of Calicut to a cosmopolitan location with itsown kingship system and merchant patterns during the pre-colonial period. This vibrant cosmopolitan side of the town of Calicut was further strengthened and connected to British urban domains during 18th century. I would like to locate colonial urban spaces, through administrative and medical institutional locations in the city of calicut. The locations like Cantonment, Municipality, Collectorate, Hospitals and the Personnel like Collector, Judges, Police and Medical asylums, hospitals, Medical superintendents dispensed the ideologies of British colonial raj where the concepts of Land, Geography, Space, Industry, manufacturing, medicine, Public works, Transport and communication etc could be located.However, this early colonial connections were resulted also in the making of several categorisations and segregations in and around the city.

Santhosh Abraham; The Keyi Mappila Muslim Merchants of Tellicherry and the Making of Coastal Cosmopolitanism on the Malabar Coast, Asian Review of World Histories, Vol. 5, 2017, pp.145-162


The Keyi Mappila Muslim merchants of Tellicherry (Thalassery) on the Malabar Coast were one of the few early modern Indian merchant groups who succeeded in carving
out a powerful political and social configuration of their own on the western coast of the Indian Ocean during the British period. Today, several branches of Keyi families
remain a cultural unit in the Islamic community of Kerala. This article attempts to locate the group in the larger theoretical context of Indian Ocean cosmopolitanism and
argues that the Keyis developed a distinct and significant type of coastal cosmopolitanism in an Indian Ocean setting; Chovakkaran Moosa, an influential merchant from a Keyi family during the colonial period, serves as a representative figure. Through their trade and financial relationships with British and local elites, and the characteristic architecture of their warehouses, residences, and mosques, the Keyis successfully integrated the practices of a global cosmopolitan space into a local vernacular secluded commercial space. This article presents a synthesis of a lively coastal urban and local rural cosmopolitanism that included several networks and exchanges, foreign and
native collaborations, and an amalgamation of local and external cultural spheres.
Professional Associations

Dr. Santhosh Abraham
Assistant Professor

Room No.: HSB 341
Phone : +91 (44) 2257 4536
Email :

Academic Background:

  • Ph.D in History, University of Hyderabad, 2008
  • M.Phil in History, University of Hyderabad, 2003
  • M.A in History, University of Calicut, 2002

 Research Interests:

  • Sociology of Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental Asylums
  • History of Science and Medicine
  • Sociology of Law, Legal History
  • Muslims, Islamic Law, Education, Social Mobility
  • Alternate Dispute Resolution Mechanism / Informal Legal Systems

 Courses Taught:

  • Law and Society & Modern India
  • History of Science and Technology
  • History of the Modern World
  • Themes in Science and Technology
  • Approaches to World History  

Research Projects Completed:

  • 2016   –  Indian National Science Academy New Delhi –  Medicine and British Empire in South India
  • 2015 –    Wellcome Trust, London (November-January) – Medical Humanities Research Award
  • 2014 –    Wellcome Trust, London (June-August) – Medical Humanities Research Award
  • 2014 –     Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi – Professional Ethics for Higher Education in India  

Professional Achivements:

  • Editorial Board Member of South Asia Research (A peer-reviewed International, Multi-disciplinary Journal which covers the History, Politics, Law, Economics, Sociology, Visual culture, Languages and Literature of the countries in South Asia. (Published by Sage Journals International)
Academic Awards:
  • Sheela Raj Memorial Award for Best Ph.D Thesis in History in the year 2010, University of Hyderabad, 2010.
Publications (Selected / Since 2011):
Published Articles in International / National Journals
  • (2017) Santhosh Abraham, ‘The Keyi Mappila Muslim Merchants of Tellicherry and the Making of Coastal Cosmopolitanism on the Malabar Coast’,  Asian Review of World Histories (Brill, Leiden), Vol. 5, Issue 2, 2017, pp. 145-162.
  • (2014) Santhosh Abraham, ‘Constructing the ‘Extraordinary Criminals”: Mappila Muslims and Legal Encounters in Early British Colonial Malabar’, Journal of World History, Volume 25, Issue 2-3, 2014, (University of Hawai’i Press), pp. 373 – 395.
  • (2013) Santhosh Abraham, ‘Formal Writing, Questionnaires and Petitions: Colonial Governance and Law in Early British Malabar’, Indian Historical Review, Vol.40, No.2, December 2013, (Sage International) pp. 285 – 305.
  • (2011) Santhosh Abraham, ‘Colonial Law in Early British Malabar: Transparent Colonial State and Formality of Practices’, South Asia Research, Vol.31, No.3, November, 2011, (Sage International), pp.249-264.
  • (2011) Santhosh Abraham, ‘The Making of Colonial Law in British India: A Historiographical Analysis’, Indian Law Review, Vol. 3, 2011, pp.116-128.
  • (2011) Santhosh Abraham, ‘Classical Legal Traditions: Some Historiographical Interpretations’, Journal of History and Social Sciences, Vol.2, Issue I, January-June 2011.
Conference / Workshop Papers  (Selected / Post-2012):
  • (2016) Santhosh Abraham, “Making of Madras Coolies: Labour Migration, Legislations and Resistances in Colonial South India’, International Conference on After Slavery? Labour and Migration in the Post-Emancipation World, University of Leeds at Leeds, UK, 27 -28 June 2016.
  • (2015), Recasting and Reimagining the Islamic Law and Jurisprudence: Colonial and Post-colonial Discourses on Muslim Law in Malabar, Kerala, International Conference on Ocean of Law: Intermixed Legal Systems across the Indian Ocean World, Organised by Ledien University, The Netherlands at Leiden, 7-9, December, 2015.
  •  (2015) Santhosh Abraham, “Keyi Mappila Muslims of Colonial Malabar: Making of Coastal and Vernacular Cosmopolitan Order”, International Conference on Wild Spaces and Islamic Cosmopolitanism in Asia, Organised by Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, at Singapore, 14-15 January, 2015.
  •  (2012) Santhosh Abraham, ‘Jungle Mappilas as Criminal Bandits in Colonial Malabar’ in the Workshop on European Encounters with Islam in Asia, 1500-1800, University of Hawai’i (USA), September 28 – 29, 2012.