Moiz Tundawala

Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow


Dr Moiz Tundawala is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and Faculty of Law in the University of Oxford. Moiz researches in the areas of public law, legal and constitutional theory, intellectual history and global political thought. Before joining Oxford, he completed his MPhil/PhD from the London School of Economics, LLM from the School of Oriental and African Studies and BA,LLB (Hons) from the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences Kolkata. Moiz is currently on leave as an Associate Professor of Law at Jindal Global Law School in Delhi NCR India.

Moiz pursues a historical, sociological and philosophical study of the key constitutional and political ideas that have shaped the modern world. His postdoctoral research engages with the global problematic of the deeply entangled relationship between sovereignty and constitutionalism in the contemporary South Asian context. In contrast to the traditional understanding of a state of exception, sovereign imaginaries of theocratic rule and aggressive nationalism today stake a claim to the political sphere not by having constitutions suspended, but by translating their programmes into the language of constitutionalism itself. Focusing on South Asia, he investigates how, despite being hostile to the founding principles of civic-nationalism and liberal-secularism, the ethno-nationalist and socio-religious movements of Hindutva and Islamism have successfully instrumentalized constitutionalism to become politically powerful in postcolonial India and Pakistan.

This work follows from Moiz’s doctoral dissertation, which theorizes the Indian career of the global concept of constituent power. It presents India as an active intellectual agent whose founders rethought and remade constituent power, or the power of constitution-making, in their debates on democracy, self-determination, caste, religion and political association in the mid-twentieth century. But far from presenting a celebratory juridical account of an authentic nationalist self-realization, it establishes that India’s political field was marked by a fundamental dissensus in respect of the idea of law, whose ramifications can be felt in constitutional thought and action even today. He is developing his thesis into a monograph on law, sovereignty and constituent power in modern India.

Moiz has published his research in leading international journals, and writes regular commentaries on law, history and politics in blogs and dailies.