Dissertation monograph- The past is a foreign country: the politics of colonial re-territorialization in 20th century India

My dissertation monograph connects the histories of partition in the South Asian subcontinent with the violence perpetrated against Dalits* (untouchables) and Muslims in contemporary India. Using the hitherto understudied case of the merger of sovereign principalities into the Union of India between 1947 and 1975, this book project looks at political identity formation in relation to uneven histories of colonialism and traumatic re-territorialization of the Indian subcontinent in the aftermath of empire. 

The project departs from conventional historical-sociological approaches to make two theoretical claims: one the nation is not a synchronic site of inquiry and two the violence of national border making is not an event or a series of events but a process and must be studied as such. As India marched from colony to nation several sovereign states like Hyderabad became inscripted colonies within India. The monograph relies on 20 months of archival and ethnographic research to examine the historical conditions under which subjects enter into the nation especially in the aftermath of trauma and how this shapes the political identities like “Hindus”, “Muslims” and “Dalits” intersubjectively. Continue reading

(*Dalit- lit. translation downtrodden; term used as a political elaboration of the category Untouchables)


(Ongoing) Book Project: Select works of Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois (A critical edition and annotated translation)

This book project undertakes the task of thematically curating and translating an anthology of eight annotated essays of W. E. B. Du Bois from English to Hindi. It is funded by the Du Bois Fellowship (2019-2020) awarded by the W. E. B. Du Bois center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is a collaborative undertaking with Jyoti Iyer (Linguistics, University of Massachusetts Amherst).  Continue reading 

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