Elizabeth Lhost

Postdoctoral Fellow, Society of Fellows

Elizabeth Lhost is a legal studies scholar and historian of South Asia whose work explores the intersections of law, society, and the state. In her first book, Everyday Islamic Law and the Making of Modern South Asia, Lhost explores the history of Islamic law and legal practice in British India. Focusing on the lives and careers of nonofficial legal practitioners (and the ordinary individuals who sought their counsel), Lhost highlights the multiplicity and plurality of legal paths they created as colonial rule intensified. The book is forthcoming (expected June 2022) with the Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks series at The University of North Carolina Press. Lhost's next major project, tentatively titled "A Moral Hazard? Risk, Religion, and Modern Finance in the Indian Ocean World" will explore the intersections of race, religion, and finance capitalism within the context of British imperialism and commercial activity in and around southern Asia. Detailing the history of financial products like life insurance and pension funds, Lhost will examine the history of financial inclusion and its implications for (in)equality today. She is also the lead investigator for IPSOLHA (the Indian Princely States Online Legal History Archive), an American Institute of Indian Studies Digital India Learning Initiative–sponsored project to create a database of legal-historical materials from the Indian Princely States. At Dartmouth, Lhost created and continues to coordinate the "Conversations on South Asia" series and is co-leading the "New Money" interdisciplinary podcast project with Amy Schiller, a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows and Government Department. Lhost's research has been supported by the Fulbright student program, the Social Science Research Council, the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Mellon Foundation. Lhost currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies and is a book review essay editor for the journal Itinerario.


304 Carson Hall
HB 6107


  • Ph.D. University of Chicago
  • M.A. University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • B.A. Northwestern University

Selected Publications

  • "Writing Law at the Edge of Empire: Evidence from the Qazis of Bharuch (1799–1864)." Itinerario, 42(2) (2018): 256-278. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0165115318000347

    "To flower and fructify: Rational religion and the seeds of Islam in Nazir Ahmad's (1830–1912) late-career religious non-fiction." Journal of Islamic Studies (forthcoming), https://doi.org/10.1093/jis/etz032.