Castes of Mind

Castes of Mind

When thinking of India, it is hard not to think of caste. In academic and common parlance alike, caste has become a central symbol for India, marking it as fundamentally different from other places while expressing its essence. Nicholas Dirks argues that caste is, in fact, neither an unchanged survival of ancient India nor a single system that reflects a core cultural value. Rather than a basic expression of Indian tradition, caste is a modern phenomenon--the product of a concrete historical encounter between India and British colonial rule. Dirks does not contend that caste was invented by the British. But under British domination caste did become a single term capable of naming and above all subsuming India's diverse forms of social identity and organization. Dirks traces the career of caste from the medieval kingdoms of southern India to the textual traces of early colonial archives; from the commentaries of an eighteenth-century Jesuit to the enumerative obsessions of the late-nineteenth-century census; from the ethnographic writings of colonial administrators to those of twentieth-century Indian scholars seeking to rescue ethnography from its colonial legacy. The book also surveys the rise of caste politics in the twentieth century, focusing in particular on the emergence of caste-based movements that have threatened nationalist consensus. Castes of Mind is an ambitious book, written by an accomplished scholar with a rare mastery of centuries of Indian history and anthropology. It uses the idea of caste as the basis for a magisterial history of modern India. And in making a powerful case that the colonial past continues to haunt the Indian present, it makes an important contribution to current postcolonial theory and scholarship on contemporary Indian politics.


Publisher Princeton University Press
Release Date
ISBN 1400840945
Pages 392 pages
Castes of Mind
Language: en
Pages: 392
Authors: Nicholas B. Dirks
Categories: Social Science
Type: BOOK - Published: 2011-10-09 - Publisher: Princeton University Press

When thinking of India, it is hard not to think of caste. In academic and common parlance alike, caste has become a central symbol for India, marking it as fund
Notions of Nationhood in Bengal: Perspectives on Samaj, c. 1867-1905
Language: en
Pages: 420
Authors: Swarupa Gupta
Categories: Philosophy
Type: BOOK - Published: 2009-06-24 - Publisher: BRILL

This book opens fresh ways of rethinking colonial nationalisms, qualifying derivative, political and modernist paradigms. Introducing the category of samaj (cul
Colonialism as Civilizing Mission
Language: en
Pages: 362
Authors: Harald Fischer-Tiné
Categories: Great Britain
Type: BOOK - Published: 2004-03-01 - Publisher: Anthem Press

Ranging from studies on sport and national education and pulp fiction to infanticide, psychiatric therapy and religion, these essays on the various forms, expre
Language: en
Pages: 192
Authors: Carles Lalueza-Fox
Categories: Science
Type: BOOK - Published: 2022-02-08 - Publisher: MIT Press

How genomics reveals deep histories of inequality, going back many thousands of years. Inequality is an urgent global concern, with pundits, politicians, academ
Guru Nanak Journal of Sociology
Language: en
Categories: India
Type: BOOK - Published: 2005 - Publisher:

Social Movements in India
Language: en
Pages: 320
Authors: Raka Ray
Categories: Social Science
Type: BOOK - Published: 2005-03-25 - Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Social movements have played a vital role in Indian politics since well before the inception of India as a new nation in 1947. During the Nehruvian era, from In
After Writing Culture
Language: en
Pages: 288
Authors: Andrew Dawson
Categories: Social Science
Type: BOOK - Published: 2003-12-16 - Publisher: Routledge

This collection addresses the theme of representation in anthropology. Its fourteen articles explore some of the directions in which contemporary anthropology i
Becoming Religious in a Secular Age
Language: en
Pages: 292
Authors: Mark Elmore
Categories: Religion
Type: BOOK - Published: 2016-07-05 - Publisher: Univ of California Press

"Religion is commonly imagined as a timeless component of human inheritance, but in the Western Himalayas the community of Himachal Pradesh discovered their rel
The Oxford History of Hinduism: Modern Hinduism
Language: en
Pages: 352
Authors: Torkel Brekke
Categories: Religion
Type: BOOK - Published: 2019-06-27 - Publisher: Oxford University Press

The Oxford History of Hinduism: Modern Hinduism focuses on developments resulting from movements within the tradition as well as contact between India and the o
Agriculture of New-York
Language: en
Pages: 340
Authors: Ebenezer Emmons
Type: BOOK - Published: 1851 - Publisher: