In the past year there have been two interesting events that made me recall the seminal work of Nicholas B. Dirks: Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India (Princeton, 2001). The first event was the social and educational survey conducted in Karnataka in April 2015 that recorded caste.
This is a reprint of a work originally published a century ago (Stanley Paul, London, 1913; Dodd, Mead, New York, 1914). Although it has been published as part of the National Archives of India (NAI) series ‘Archives in India: Historical Reprints’, it does not seem to have had any direct or indirect connection with the NAI.
The book under review is the published product of a series of Conference panels and workshops that were organized between 2011 and 2013 in Honolulu, Nottingham, and Bergen. The introduction ‘Reconceptualizing Subaltern Politics in Contemporary India’ begins with a section called ‘What is Subaltern Politics?’ Nilsen and Roy’s definition of ‘subaltern politics’ as ‘the political activity of social groups who are adversely incorporated into determinate power relations’ broadens the term ‘subaltern’.
Cities in Medieval India, a voluminous anthology, is an outcome of academic discussions on the theme of urbanization in premodern India at two separate colloquia held at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi between March 2008 and March 2009.
The editors of Irreverent History begin the preface by stating that ‘the present work celebrates the life and scholarship of Professor Muttayil Govindamenon Sankara Narayanan’. Indeed one of the most celebrated historians of India is offered a bouquet of sixteen essays by scholars, many of them his students.
Inter-Asian connections and linkages have a long and fascinating history, and an equally fascinating historiography. The southeast Asian connections, in particular, have received much attention, having been examined through a variety of prisms, ranging from the ‘Greater India’ idea of the early decades of the 20th century, to Sheldon Pollock’s hypothesis of the ‘Sanskrit cosmopolis’ of the beginning of this century.
The essays in this volume try to get behind the apparent continuity of normative discourse on the household in India from the ancient to the early modern. They try to locate moments of disruption, transformation or critique, in texts that are often read as simple reiterations of the Manusmriti through the ages.