Fall 2018

Caste and Politics of Inequality in India

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-271  |  History, as HIST-271


Francis G. Couvares (Section 01)
Trent E. Maxey (Section 01)
Dwaipayan Sen (Section 01)


(Offered as HIST 271 [AS/TS] and ASLC 271 [SA]) This course explores how caste was politicized over the course of colonial and post-colonial periods in India. It focuses on the emergence and development of various movements opposed to caste-based inequality and injustice, as well as the ongoing search for social justice. The course reviews scholarly debates about understanding this form of identification and social hierarchy, and examines the complex ways in which caste articulates with other social phenomena, like gender, class, religion, and nationality. It lays emphasis on the writings and work of key anti-caste thinkers and activists, in particular, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the preeminent leader of the Dalits, and a key figure in drafting the Constitution of India. Based on close readings of various kinds of primary sources, as well as an engagement with secondary literature in history, political science, sociology, anthropology and literary studies, the course follows the story of the struggle to “annihilate” caste. Two class meetings per week.

Fall semester. Professor Sen.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2016, Fall 2018