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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Mr Craig Whittall

Doctoral Research Student in the School of Government and International Affairs

Contact Mr Craig Whittall (email at


Craig gained his MA (by research) in political theory at SGIA, graduating in 2010. His thesis argued for structural similarities between the concept of 'bare life' in the work of Giorgio Agamben and the concept of 'alienated labour' in the traditional Marxist canon.

Craig chose to return to SGIA to complete a part-time PhD project, commencing in October 2013.

Craig's current research Biopolitics and Exclusion in the British Empire: Colonial India's "Criminal Tribes" seeks to demonstrate the value of Giorgio Agamben's biopolitics in providing a novel and coherent account of this highly distinctive institutional system of exclusion and reconstructive intervention in the communal lives of nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes across British India in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


Colonial India's "Criminal Tribes": The Past and Present of Communities Beyond 'The People'
Who Are "We, The People"? Communities Beyond The State, Workshop 2
Institute for Advanced Study, Durham University
Thursday, 7 March 2019.

Salvage of Empire: The Breaking and Re-Making of British India's "Criminal Tribes"
North American Conference on British Studies (NACBS) Annual Meeting
Panel: "Imprisoning The Colonies"
Providence, Rhode Island
Saturday, 27 October 2018.

This Wandering Law: The role of British approaches to vagrancy in the creation of colonial India's 'Criminal Tribes'
Out of Place: Vagrancy and Settlement
Centre for Metropolitan History, Senate House, London
Thursday, 7 December 2017.

Primitive Accumulation, Today: Developments in Biotechnology and the Privatisation of Life.
Manchester Workshops in Political Theory
The University of Manchester.
Thursday, 8 September 2016.

Lectures and Talks

Giorgio Agamben and Modern Biopolitics – an Introduction.
Undergraduate Lecture (3rd year module, 'Political theory since 1918').
Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)
Thursday, 23 March 2017.

Life and Power: An Introduction to the Field of Biopolitics.
Guest Lecture (public).
Wednesday, 28 October 2015.

A Mask of Liberty: Agamben and Arendt on the Pyrrhic Victory of Modern Freedoms.
Centre for the History of Political Thought
Durham University
Monday, 18 May 2015.

Biopolitics and Exclusion in Colonial Spaces.
Guest Lecture (public).
Wednesday, 10 December 2014. 

Memberships and Affiliations

Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
Fellow, 2018-present

North American Conference on British Studies
Member, 2018-present

Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society
Member, 2015-present

Political Studies Association of Great Britain
Member, 2014-present
Specialist Groups:
Political Thought

Research Interests

  • Biopolitics
  • British Empire
  • Comparative Legal History
  • Political Theory


Journal Article