Challenge to Set Theories
Dharma Kumar
ECONOMY AND SOCIETY by K.N. Chaudhuri Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1979, 268 pp., 85.00
Nov-Dec 1979, volume 4, No 3

This volume is the by-product of a conference held in Cambridge in 1975, whose object was to bring together youn­ger historians of the economic and social history of South Asia, i.e. those who began their research work in the sixties and seventies. The conference had no specific theme; its objectives were the modest ones of promoting academic contacts and bringing to light unpublished work. But judging by this book the con­ference was much more useful than even bigger ones. The danger of conferences on specific themes is that participants are chosen because of what they have already written on the subject; they tend to repeat their earlier work and the conference volumes which must be published to satisfy their sponsors contain little that is new or worth publishing. But in this volume practically every paper contains new material, and many of them make important new points. On the other hand, the absence of a central theme sets the reviewer a difficult task. I shall mention all the papers but comment on only a few, those that I consider particularly im­portant or happen to be interested in for personal reasons.

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