Caste and Dalit Lifeworlds: Postcolonial Perspectives
Debjani Ganguly
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

Caste and Dalit Lifeworlds attempts to come to terms with the presence of caste in late modern India by asking two questions: How do we read caste today? Why is it no longer enough to brand caste as pre-modern and backward? The author argues that caste is less an essence responsible for India’s “backwardness” as an assemblage of a variety of secular and non-secular practices and affects that generate everyday life in India, while being in a constant state of flux—something that cannot be completely contained in a narrative of nation-building, modernization and development. In order to illustrate the importance of reading caste in this light, she turns her archival and analytical focus on both caste Hindu and dalit literary, mythographic and religious texts. The attempt is not to endorse either the caste-system or casteism, but to resist the reified ways in which caste continues to figure in social, scientific and nation-building discources. Ganguly is in this work admirably cosmopolitan: she is at ease with different intellectual cultures, moving in sophisticated ways between the differect perspectives of social science, Historiography, Subaltern studies, theorists of the aesthetic, poststructuralism, postcolonialism. This is a very learned work, familiar with many fields, interdisciplinary in relaxed attentive ways. - John Docker, Australian National University Debjani Ganguly has chosen an intellectually ambitious project, one that demands both archival and interpretational skills. Her attention to caste as a social sign—text, narrative, discourse—stems from a desire, evidenced everywhere in her book to provide a language for the description of caste identifications and behaviours as part of the dalit `everyday’. This is an important move. Homi K Bhabha, Anne F Rothenberg Professor of English and Americal Literature, Harvard University

Debjani Ganguly is Head of the Humanities Research Centre in the Research School of Humanities at the Australian National University. A literary and cultural historian, she has published in the areas of postcolonial studies, global Anglophone literatures, caste and dalit studies, cultural histories of mixed-race, Gandhi and nonviolence and Indian literary criticism. Her recent publications are include `Edward Said: The Legacy of a Public Intellectual’ (Melbourne University Press, 2007) and `Rethinking Gandhi and Nonviolent Relationality’ (Orient Blackswan and Routledge, 2007)
3-6-752 Himayatnagar, Hyderabad,
500 029 Telangana
Phone: (040) 27662849, 27662850
Follow us on
Copyright © Orient BlackSwan, All rights reserved.
Disclaimer and Privacy Policy
Terms and Conditions
Frequently Asked Questions