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Udit Bhatia

Udit Bhatia

Junior Research Fellow in Politics, Jesus College, and Lecturer in Politics, Lady Margaret Hall
Political Theory
Lady Margaret Hall

I am a political theorist whose research focuses on normative democratic theory, comparative constitution-making, and social epistemology. I am a college lecturer in politics at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford and currently pursuing a doctoral degree at the Department of Politics and International Relations. From October 2018, I will be a Junior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford. 

Before coming to Oxford, I completed an MPhil in Politics and Education (Distinction) at the University of Cambridge, and an MA in Legal and Political Theory (Distinction) at University College London. My first degree was in Philosophy (First Class Honours) from St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi. My doctoral research is funded by a DPIR studentship (tuition fees and living expenses). I’m the Junior Dean at Linacre College.
My research engages with epistocracy, the notion that competent persons ought to enjoy exclusive or disproportionate political power. I examine the role played by this idea in constitutional moments in the United States, Britain and India. I then draw upon these case studies to develop a normative critique of epistocracy.

Alongside this project, I have also been working on how constitutions ought to regulate the relationship between political parties and legislative assemblies. For more on this subject, you can read my paper on the epistemic impact of strict party discipline for legislative deliberation available here. For the next phase of this research, I am working on party constitutions and the grounds on which these could be regulated to facilitate their legislative role. 

I am currently also thinking about states’ epistemic obligations towards asylum-seekers. In particular, I am interested in relatively ‘costless’ duties that Southern states ought to fulfil. These include, among other things, the duty to offer resistance against norms that foster misrecognition of asylum-seekers.


In my role at Lady Margaret Hall, I teach undergraduates in all three years, and also participate in interviews for admissions and marking examinations. I am able to teach contemporary political theory as well as the history of political thought. At Oxford, I have taught the following courses: Theory of Politics (Prelims), Theory of Politics, Political Thought: Plato to Rousseau, Political Thought: Bentham to Weber, Politics in South Asia.


The Indian Constituent Assembly: Deliberations on Democracy, ed. Udit Bhatia (London and New Delhi: Routledge, 2017)

Cracking the Whip: The Deliberative Costs of Strict Party Discipline, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 2018 (Online First)

Rethinking the Epistemic Case against Epistocracy, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 2018 (Online First)

Precautions in a Democratic Experiment: The Nexus between Political Power and Competence, In Constituent Assemblies, eds. Jon Elster, Roberto Gargarella, Vatsal Naresh and Bjorn Rasch. (Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Between Regulation and Minority Educational Rights, Journal of Political Ideologies,forthcoming

Conference Papers and Presentations

2018 Economic Refugees and the Hermeneutical Duty of Justice (The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø)

2018 Against Epistocracy: Rethinking the Epistemic Case against Epistocracy (Workshop in Social and Political Epistemology, Copenhagen University)

2017 Cracking the Whip: The Deliberative Costs of Strict Party Discipline (Conference on Law and Democracy, Yale Law School)

2017 The Epistocratic Second Chamber (Legal Studies Conference, Brown University)

2016 Precautions in a Democratic Experiment: The Nexus between Political Power and Competence (Columbia University)

2015 Mill's Educational (Dis)Qualification (LSE Graduate Conference in Political Theory)

2014 Minority Educational Rights in Comparative Perspective (Aage Sørensen Memorial Conference, Princeton University)