Recent monographs and edited volumes from Center for South Asia core faculty
South Asian Writers, Latin American Literature, and the Rise of Global English
Ever since T.B. Macaulay leveled the accusation in 1835 that 'a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India,' South Asian literature has served as the imagined battleground between local linguistic multiplicity and a rapidly globalizing English. In response to this endless polemic, Indian and Pakistani writers set out in another direction altogether. They made an unexpected journey to Latin America. The cohort of authors that moved between these regions include Latin-American Nobel laureates Pablo Neruda and Octavio Paz; Booker Prize notables Salman Rushdie, Anita Desai, Mohammed Hanif, and Mohsin Hamid. In their explorations of this new geographic connection, Roanne Kantor claims that they formed the vanguard of a new, multilingual world literary order.
The Law of Force: The Violent Heart of Indian Politics
Thomas Blom Hansen
The Law of Force is a searing critique of the illiberal and violent forces that continue to dominate our everyday life and politics. These forces began to make themselves felt in the 1980s and 1990s—regional movements, the empowerment of lower-caste communities but also Hindu nationalism—and reflected, among many other things, a deeply illiberal underside of Indian politics. Theirs was a language of deprivations and anger, and a politics of passion claiming to represent hitherto voiceless majorities. This language of strength was not based on a commitment to the values of the Constitution but, rather, a belief in popular sovereignty, the moral right of electoral majorities, and violence as a legitimate expression of political will.
Brutal Beauty: Aesthetics and Aspiration in Urban India
October 15, 2021
Brutal Beauty: Aesthetics and Aspiration in Urban India follows a postcolonial city as it transforms into a bustling global metropolis after the liberalization of the Indian economy. Taking the once idyllic “garden city” of Bangalore in southern India as its point of departure, the book explores how artists across India and beyond foreground neoliberalism as a “structure of feeling” permeating aesthetics, selfhood, and everyday life.
Islam Through Objects
July 15, 2021
Islam through Objects represents the state of the field of Islamic material cultural studies. With contributions from scholars of religion, anthropologists, art historians, folklorists, historians, and other disciplines, Anna Bigelow brings together a wide range of perspectives on Islamic materiality to debunk myths of Islamic aversion to material aspects of religion. (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Time’s Monster - How History Makes History
October 20, 2020
For generations, British thinkers told the history of an empire whose story was still very much in the making. While they wrote of conquest, imperial rule in India, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean was consolidated. While they described the development of imperial governance, rebellions were brutally crushed. As they reimagined empire during the two world wars, decolonization was compromised. Priya Satia shows how these historians not only interpreted the major political events of their time but also shaped the future that followed. (Harvard University Press)
Dancing Women: Choreographing Corporeal Histories of Hindi Cinema
October 16, 2020
Dancing Women: Choreographing Corporeal Histories of Hindi Cinema, an ambitious study of two of South Asia's most popular cultural forms — cinema and dance — historicizes and theorizes the material and cultural production of film dance, a staple attraction of popular Hindi cinema. It explores how the dynamic figurations of the body wrought by cinematic dance forms from the 1930s to the 1990s produce unique constructions of gender, sexuality, stardom, and spectacle. (Oxford University Press)