Department of History

Department of History
Department of History

Heena Mistry

Ph.D. Candidate
Global, World, and Transnational History, British Empire, South Asian Migration





M.A. Queen’s University, 2014
B.A. University of Guelph (Major in History, Minor in French Studies), 2013


Heena Mistry is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in history under the supervision of Dr. Amitava Chowdhury. Her research examines the interactions between Indian nationalists and Indians settled across the British Empire, immediately following the abolition of indenture in 1917 until the outbreak of the Second World War. Specifically, she looks at how the Government of India intervened on behalf of Indians overseas and how these interactions reflected an idealist understanding of empire. Her work challenges national histories by looking at alternatives to the nation that different colonial subjects imagined.

Her Master’s work looked at the history of South Asians in Kenya. She has also worked on the history of aquariums and their relationship to twentieth century French colonialism.


2017. April-July. Visiting Researcher. Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
2017. January-April. Affiliation. Jindal Global Law School, India.
2016. August-December. Visiting Fellow. Weatherhead Initiative on Global History, Harvard University.


2017. Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement.
2016. Timothy C.S. Franks Research Travel Fund Award.
2016. Graduate Dean’s Travel Grant for Doctoral Field Research.
2014. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship – Doctoral
2014. Tri-Agency Recipient Recognition Award
2013. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship – Master’s
2013. Queen’s Graduate Award
2013. Tri-Agency Recipient Recognition Award
2012. Canadian South Asian Club for Professionals Education Trust Fund Bursary


2016. “Indian Ocean” in Dictionary of American History, Supplement: America in the World, 1776 to the Present.
2014. Lachapelle Sofie and Heena Mistry. “From the Waters of the Empire to the Tanks of Paris: The Creation and Early Years of the Aquarium Tropical, Palais de la Porte Dorée.” Journal of the History of Biology 47, no. 1 (2014): 1-27.


2017. “Post-Indenture Repatriation, Indian Colonisation Schemes, and Imperial Citizenship: 1918-1938. Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, Johannesburg.
2017. “Sanctions for Citizenship: Indians Overseas and Imperial Reciprocity, 1918-1943.” International Conference. Hundred Years of the End of Indian Indentureship. Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi.
2016. “Researching South Asian Diaspora.” Guest lecture in 21H.357: South Asian Migrations, MIT.
2016. “Negotiating British Imperial Citizenship.” Weatherhead Initiative on Global History, Fellow’s Lunch, Harvard University.
2016. “Indentured Labour, Repatriation and British Imperial Citizenship.” After Slavery? Labour and Migration in the Post-Emancipation World. University of Leeds, UK.
2016. “Greater India and British Citizenship: Agents for the Government of India and Alternatives to Anticolonial Nationalism.” Global History: Eroding the Barricades of Historical Interpretation. Tufts University, USA.
2015. “A Practical Past Becomes Impractical: How Pan-Indianism and Pan-Anticolonialism Alienated South Asians in Kenya.” 12th Annual McGill-Queen’s Graduate Conference in History. Queen’s University, Canada.
2014. “Compartmentalization and Communal Plurality: The superficial adoption of fabricated identities among South Asians in Kenya.” Migration Without Boundaries Conference 2014. Michigan State University, USA.
2014. “Overt Acceptance and Covert Opportunism: Canada’s Role in Expulsion of the Ugandan South Asians.” 11th Annual McGill-Queen’s Graduate Conference in History. McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
2013. “Asian Exclusivism and South Asian Community Schools in Kenya.” Second Annual Graduate Conference on Indian Ocean World Studies. McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
2012. (With Sofie Lachapelle) “The Aquarium of the 1931 French Colonial Exposition.” French Colonial Historical Society. New Orleans, USA.
2012. (With Sofie Lachapelle) “From the Waters of the Empire to the Tanks of Paris: The Aquarium of the 1931 Colonial Exposition.” Animal Behaviour and Welfare Seminar Series. University of Guelph, Canada.