ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Browsing through 51 Years of EPW | After Subaltern Studies

As an intellectual project, Subaltern Studies was perhaps overdetermined by its times. Given today's changed contexts the tasks set out by it cannot be taken forward within the framework and methods mobilised for it. Subaltern Studies was a product of its time; another time calls for other projects. An exploration of what Subaltern Studies achieved, what remained unasked and unrecognised and what has changed in the historical context to necessitate new intellectual project(s).

Freedom of Speech in the University

There is a concerted campaign in the political arena, the media and even Parliament questioning the presumed autonomy of the university. The law must apply equally everywhere, we are being told, and so why should the university enjoy a special privilege? There is a fundamental confusion here, caused by lazy thinking or deliberate obfuscation, about the actual limits to freedom of speech in the university and the appropriate authorities who can enforce them.

Remembering Asok Sen

A tribute to the economist and Marxist Asok Sen, mentor to an entire generation of young scholars of Calcutta/Kolkata who went on to make their mark in a diverse set of fields. Asok Sen also edited the journal Baromas with distinction for 37 years.

Concern for NMML

We, university teachers, research scholars, students and concerned academics who have used the resources of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), commend the outgoing director Mahesh Rangarajan for his outstanding work at this institution over the last four years. He belongs to that breed...

Modi's Visit to Silicon Valley

As faculty who engage South Asia in our research and teaching in the United States (US), we write to express our concerns about the uncritical fanfare being generated over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley to promote “Digital India” on 27 September 2015. Prime Minister Narendra...

Remembering Pandian

M S S Pandian, who passed away in New Delhi after a cardiac arrest on 10 November 2014, at the age of 57, was among the younger members who joined the editorial collective of the Subaltern Studies in 1990. A few of us had known him from the time he was a PhD student at the University of Madras,...

Subaltern Studies and Capital

Vivek Chibber's critique (Postcolonial Theory and the Spectre of Capital) of the Subaltern Studies school deals largely with the early work of three authors - Ranajit Guha, Dipesh Chakrabarty and Partha Chatterjee. This note critically examines Chibber's arguments.

Historicising Caste in Bengal Politics

In response to the issues raised by Praskanva Sinharay ("A New Politics of Caste", EPW, 25 August 2012) and Uday Chandra and Kenneth Bo Nielsen ("The Importance of Caste in Bengal", EPW, 3 November 2012), this article argues that caste has been hidden from view in Bengal due to the very specifi c manner in which religious community, class, caste and political power have combined in (West) Bengal.

After Subaltern Studies

As an intellectual project, Subaltern Studies was perhaps overdetermined by its times. Given today's changed contexts the tasks set out by it cannot be taken forward within the framework and methods mobilised for it. Subaltern Studies was a product of its time; another time calls for other projects. An exploration of what Subaltern Studies achieved, what remained unasked and unrecognised and what has changed in the historical context to necessitate new intellectual project(s).

Regional Bias

LETTERS Issn 0012-9976 Ever since the first issue in 1966, EPW has been India’s premier journal for comment on current affairs and research in the social sciences. It succeeded Economic Weekly (1949-1965), which was launched and shepherded by Sachin Chaudhuri, who was also the founder-editor of EPW...

In Memoriam: Anjan Ghosh

A tribute to Anjan Ghosh, the sociologist at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta, who for decades matched his devotion to a life of the mind with a daily involvement in the rough and tumble of the political and social world.

The Coming Crisis in West Bengal

The studies in this special issue on local government and politics in rural West Bengal that were carried out in 2003-06 ask the question, "What explains the extraordinary stability of Left Front rule in West Bengal?". The papers - one based on a large sample quantitative survey across all districts and the others on close ethnographic observation of six purposively selected gram panchayats - find merit in both the explanations suggested in the literature on contemporary West Bengal politics: one, the institutional effectiveness of the structures of rural government and mobilisation of political support built by the Left Front and, two, a form of clientelism in which the Left parties hold their supporters under some sort of permanent dependence. The studies, however, propose several nuanced modifications of the arguments and also offer some new explanations for our consideration. However, several critical events have taken place in West Bengal since 2006 (Nandigram, Singur, the results of the panchayat election of 2008). Is it then possible to shift our perspective and read the results reported in these studies as an answer to a different question? Instead of the question that has been conventionally asked about West Bengal, could we ask: "What are the reasons internal to the institutions of government and politics in rural West Bengal that might endanger the stability of Left Front rule?". This brief introduction to the special issue offers the beginnings of such a reading.

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