Spring 2018

Subaltern Studies: History from Below

Listed in: Anthropology and Sociology, as ANTH-375  |  Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-375  |  History, as HIST-375


Dwaipayan Sen (Section 01)


(Offered as HIST 375 [AS], ANTH 375 and ASLC 375 [SA])  This course explores the intervention made by the Subaltern Studies Collective in the discipline of history-writing, particularly in the context of South Asia.  Dissatisfied that previous histories of Indian nationalism were all in some sense “elitist,” this group of historians, anthropologists, and literary theorists sought to investigate how various marginalized communities--women, workers, peasants, adivasis--contributed in their own terms to the making of modern South Asia.  Their project thus engaged broader methodological questions and problems about how to write histories of the marginal.  Combining theoretical statements with selections from the 12-volume series as well as individual monographs, our readings and discussion will chart the overall trajectory of Subaltern Studies from its initial moorings in the works of the Italian Marxian theorist Antonio Gramsci to its later grounding in the critique of colonial discourse.  The objective is to understand how this school of history-writing transformed the understanding of modern South Asian history. Our discussion will engage with the critiques and debates generated in response to the project and the life of the analytical category, “subalternity,” outside South Asia.  Two class meetings per week.

Limited to 25 students. Spring semester.  Professor Sen.

If Overenrolled: Preference given first to HIST/ANTH/ASLC majors and then by seniority.


Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Race, Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Spring 2018