Gyanendra Pandey

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A History of Prejudice: Race, Caste, and Difference in India and the United States (Cambridge University Press, 2013) is the latest book by Gyanendra Pandey. The book analyses prejudice and democracy through a comparison of African Americans and Indian Dalits. Pandey's method of exploring these disparate populations and enormously complex themes, is to focus on particular case studies that are at once both very private and public, and thus allow for a truly unique, subtle and delicate analysis of what would be unwieldy topics in another's hands. Simultaneously small and large, the book's protagonists and author's questions remain in the reader's mind, long after putting down the book.

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Mrinalini ChakravortyIn Stereotype: South Asia in the Global Literary Imaginary

August 2, 2015

In Stereotype: South Asia in the Global Literary Imaginary (Columbia University Press, 2014) is a masterful account of the importance of the stereotype in English language South Asian literature. Mrinalini Chakravorty explores such tropes as the crowd in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children; slums in Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger; and death in Michael Ondaatje's book […]

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Venkat DhulipalaCreating a New Medina: State Power, Islam, and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India

August 1, 2015

In the historiography on South Asian Islam, the creation of Pakistan is often approached as the manifestation of a vague loosely formulated idea that accidentally emerged as a nation-state in 1947. In his magisterial new book Creating a New Medina: State Power, Islam, and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India (Cambridge University […]

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Jeffery WitsoeDemocracy against Development: Lower-Caste Politics and Political Modernity in Postcolonial India

July 17, 2015

Jeffery Witsoe's book Democracy against Development: Lower-Caste Politics and Political Modernity in Postcolonial India (University of Chicago Press, 2013) takes the reader to urban and rural Bihar and into the world of so called lower caste politics. Here we see how democratic mobilisation around caste lines destabilizes state development projects. Moving across scales of the […]

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Joyce B. FlueckigerWhen the World Becomes Female: Guises of a South Indian Goddess

July 3, 2015

Joyce B. Flueckiger's new book When the World Becomes Female: Guises of a South Indian Goddess (Indiana University Press, 2013) is a rich and colorful analysis of the goddess Gangamma's festival and her devotees. During the festival men take on female guises, whilst women intensify the rituals that they perform throughout the year. The books explores […]

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Samir ChopraEye on Cricket: Reflections on the Great Game

June 27, 2015

Samir Chopra describes himself as a "cricket exile." For three decades, he has lived in country where most people not only pay little attention to the sport, they actually dislike it, or at best treat it dismissively as a game of wimps and foreigners. The experience of being a cricket fan in America colors many […]

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Steven E. KemperRescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World

June 27, 2015

In his recent book, Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World (University of Chicago Press, 2015), Steven E. Kemper examines the Sinhala layman Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933) and argues that this figure has been misunderstood by both Sinhala nationalists, who have appropriated him for their own political ends, and scholars, who have portrayed Dharmapala primarily […]

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Julie Billaud Kabul Carnival: Gender Politics in Postwar Afghanistan

June 10, 2015

Kabul Carnival: Gender Politics in Postwar Afghanistan (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015) by Julie Billaud is a fascinating account of women and the state and ongoing 'reconstruction' projects in post-war Afghanistan. The book moves through places such as gender empowerment training programmes and women's dormitories, and analyses such topics as the law and veiling in public. Subtle […]

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Kurtis R. SchaefferThe Life of the Buddha

June 8, 2015

Kurtis R. Schaeffer's new translation of Tenzin Chögyel's The Life of the Buddha (Penguin Books, 2015) is a boon for teachers, researchers, and eager readers alike. Composed in the middle of the eighteenth century, The Life of the Buddha (or more fully rendered, The Life of the Lord Victor Shakyamuni, Ornament of One Thousand Lamps for […]

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Nicholas B. DirksAutobiography of an Archive: A Scholar’s Passage to India

May 18, 2015

Nicholas B. Dirks' Autobiography of an Archive: A Scholar's Passage to India (Columbia University Press, 2015) is a wonderful collection of essays, loosely arranged along the line's of the author's scholarly life. The chapters touch upon themes such as empire and the politics of knowledge, as well as the experience of archival research. Illuminating, lucid […]

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