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Dr. Martha Selby, Chair 120 INNER CAMPUS DR STOP G9300 WCH 4.134 78712-1251 • 512-471-5811

Sumit Guha

Professor Ph.D., History, 1981, University of Cambridge

Sumit Guha

Contact

  • Phone: 512-475-7236
  • Office: GAR 2.140
  • Office Hours: Tue 3-4 PM; Wed. 2-3 PM
  • Campus Mail Code: B7000

Biography

My education began in Italy but I completed high school in New Delhi, India. I received a BA from St. Stephen's College and an MA in History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, both in Delhi. An Inlaks Scholarship enabled me to attend the University of Cambridge and I was awarded a Ph.d. in History in 1981, then returning to teach in St. Stephen's College from 1981 to 1996 (with periods of research leave at the Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum, the Program in Agrarian Studies, Yale University and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Delhi.)

From 1996 to 1999 I was Professor in the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta and moved to the USA in 2000 as S.P. Das Distinguished Professor at Brown University. In 2004 I joined the Department of History in Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and came thence to the University of Texas at Austin in 2013.

 
I began my research as an economic historian with interests in demography and agriculture. These widened into the study of environmental and ethnic histories. My first book was The Agrarian Economy of the Bombay Deccan 181-1941 (1985) followed by Environment and Ethnicity in India, c. 1200-1991 (1999) and Health and Population in South Asia from earliest times to the present (2001).

My most recent book is Beyond Caste: Identity and Power in South Asia, Past and Present

http://brill.com/beyond-caste

ANS 307C • Intro To The History Of India

31865 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm UTC 3.110
(also listed as HIS 307C )
show description

This course surveys the long history of the Indian subcontinent. It has two goals. The first is to provide you with an outline of the major phases of South Asian history from the rise of its first civilization five thousand years ago, up to the development of modern self-governing states after the end of the British empire. The second is to enable you to think about how humans organize themselves to live in the mega-societies that occupy the world today. India created one of the earliest such societies on the planet. Since the course surveys five thousand years, it will be directed to identifying lasting patterns and institutions rather than individuals and events. But class discussions will especially focus on key personalities and important texts that have left historic legacies or offer insight into their times. The format will be a mix of lectures with discussion, as well as discussion meetings devoted to specific readings.

The course is designed to accommodate students with no previous knowledge of Asia. It does require students to attend regularly, contribute to a collective learning process, keep up with weekly readings and participate constructively in discussions. Discussions will usually focus on primary sources. A primary source is something that historians use as a valid record of the past. All good historical narrative is constructed on the basis of evidence from primary sources. Reading and discussing these will enable you reason from evidence, just as historians do. There may be occasional snap quizzes.

Texts:

Thomas Trautmann India: Brief History of a Civilization Oxford University Press, 2011 pback, ISBN 978-0-19-973632-4

All other readings will be available on the course website or free download.

Grading:

 

Make-ups will be available for those absent for adequate and documented reasons (e.g. illness). Extra participation credit may be awarded for attendance at special lectures or events.

 

ANS 384 • Language And Power

32013 • Fall 2014
Meets F 900am-1200pm CMA 3.134
(also listed as HIS 382N )
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The purpose of this course is to conduct an interdisciplinary exploration of language history, language ideology and politics in the past and present with a particular focus on South Asia in comparative Asian and global setting.

All complex human activity is constituted in and mediated by language.It has therefore, long been used to organize human interaction on every scale, from the imagined interlocutor of the soliloquy to the largest programs of making States and re-making subjects. It is as new as efforts to sanctify the status of English in the USA and as old as the first empires.

The many-layered linguistic patterns of South Asia past and present have long made it a focus for the systematic study of socio-linguistics and linguistic anthropology. South Asian materials therefore figure significantly in the readings.

Readings will include the important works of Pierre Bourdieu and John Gumperz as well as Muzaffar Alam, Bernard Cohn, Benedict Anderson and Sheldon Pollock. Twentieth century controversies in India and Pakistan will be addressed via both primary and secondary sources. Most readings will be available via Canvas as pdf-s so students will need to acquire a limited number of books.

Books required:

Muzaffar Alam The Language of Political Islam in India 1200-1800 (Delhi: Permanent Black, 2001) ISBN 81-7824-062-9 [as this is hard to find, additional copies will be held in PCL for short-term loan]

Michael E. Brown and Sumit Ganguly eds. Fighting Words: Language Policy and Ethnic Relations in Asia (MIT Press 2003) ISBN 0-262-52333-7

Patrick Eisenlohr Diaspora, Time and Ethnolinguistic Belonging in Hindu Mauritius (Berkeley: University of California Press 2006) ISBN 0-520-24880-5

Pierre Bourdieu Language and Symbolic Power (Cambridge MA: Polity Press 1991) ISBN 0-674-51041-0

Grading:

Starting with the second week of semester, each student will post a short response paper on the course Canvas site by 5 PM on the day preceding every class.

In addition to the response papers, each student will chair at least one session of the class. That means the student will go over the main points in the reading and consider some of the strengths and failures of the arguments raised in the assigned books and articles. Leadership and participation in the class will count for 50% of the class grade. 

Each student will write two review essays: the first on readings for September-October and the second on the readings October-December. Each paper will account for 25% of the total grade.

ANS 361 • Business & Society South Asia

32120 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm GAR 1.126
(also listed as HIS 364G )
show description

The Indian sub-continent was long viewed as dominated by religious values that bred fatalism and ensured economic stagnation. Yet this is a region with a recorded history of four thousand years of economic and cultural exchange with other parts of the world. This course will introduce you to the long history of commerce and enterprise in the Indian sub-continent up to the present. It will also enhance your understanding of the sociology of economic activity, the role of governance and the changing representation of the entrepreneur in popular culture. The course does not require previous study of South Asia (the Indian subcontinent), though students without such exposure will need to acquire some additional background information.

 Texts:

Most readings will be available on Blackboard or the Library web-site.

Students must purchase Dwijendra Tripathi and Jyoti Jumani Concise Oxford History of Indian Business ISBN 019568429X (Oxford University Press, 2007) and borrow or purchase Mani Ratnam's biopic Guru (2007).

 I also recommend purchase of Thomas Trautmann India: Brief History of a Civilization

 Oxford University Press 2011 as a ready reference for those without a background in South Asian studies.

 Grading:

Your progress will be tested by mid-term and final examinations, periodic quizzes, and two 3-page review essays. Participation in class discussions is an important part of the course and will count for 20%of the overall grade. Anyone who misses a quiz or mid­ term for a valid, documented reason may be permitted one opportunity to make-up the work within 7 days.

ANS 307C • Intro To The History Of India

31790 • Fall 2013
Meets MW 300pm-430pm CLA 0.112
(also listed as HIS 307C )
show description

Aims

This course surveys the long history of the Indian subcontinent. It has two goals. The first is to provide you with an outline of the major phases of South Asian history from the rise of its first civilization five thousand years ago, up to the development of modern self-governing states after the end of the British empire. The second is to enable you to think about how humans organize themselves to live in the mega-societies that occupy the world today. India created one of the earliest such societies on the planet.

Class discussions will especially focus on key institutions, personalities and important texts that have left historic legacies or offer insight into their times. The format will be a mix of lectures with discussion, as well as discussion meetings devoted to specific readings. 

Requirements and evaluation

The course is designed to accommodate students with no previous knowledge of Asia. It does require students to attend regularly, contribute to a collective learning process, keep up with weekly readings and participate constructively in discussions. Discussions will usually focus on primary sources. A primary source is something that historians use as a valid record of the past. All good historical narrative is constructed on the basis of evidence from primary sources. Reading and discussing these will enable you reason from evidence, just as historians do.

Grading:

There will be three in-class examinations through the semester (20%+20%+20%)

One book report on a play or novel (20%)

Participation 20%

Books required for purchase:

Thomas Trautmann India: Brief History of a Civilization Oxford University Press, 2011 pback, ISBN 978-0-19-973632-4

All other readings will be available on the course website or via Blackboard.Consult the syllabus for a fuller description. Please email the Professor if you have questions!

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