David Hardiman – The Future of Subaltern Studies



21 October 2009

speaker_DavidHardimanProf. David Hardiman from the University of Warwick will speak about the past, present and future of the Subaltern Studies collective. He was a founding member of the group back in the 1980s and has authored several important monographs dealing with ‘subaltern’ histories, politics and cultures in Gujarat – Peasant Nationalists of Gujarat: Kheda District 1917-1934 (1981), The Coming of the Devi: Adivasi Assertion in Western India (1987), Feeding the Baniya: Peasants and Usurers in Western India (1996), and most recently Missionaries and their Medicine: A Christian Modernity for Tribal India, (Manchester 2008). He has also edited (with David Arnold) Subaltern Studies VIII: Essays in Honour of Ranajit Guha and written an acclaimed interpretation of Gandhi, Gandhi in his Time and Ours (2003).

Subaltern Studies has been running up against the dreaded volume number 13 – after a decade of (sometimes vicious) debates about the importance of maintaining a Marxist concern with class position, about the values of a post-colonial preoccupation with identity and about the extendability of the subaltern approach to poor colonizers, mental patients, and other new subjectivities. So has this tremendously successful methodological stance and ‘brand name’ in South Asian historiography run its course? What can postcolonial scholars in other disciplines and regions learn from the SCG?


  • Dipesh Chakrabarty, ‘A small history of Subaltern Studies’ in Dipesh Chakrabarty, Habitations of modernity: Essays in the wake of Subaltern Studies (Chicago, 2002). Dipesh.pdf
  • Angela Bourke, ‘Reading a woman’s death: Colonial text and oral tradition in Nineteenth-Century Ireland’ Feminist Studies (1995) Vol. 21, pp 553-86. JSTOR 1.
  • Rosalind O’Hanlon, ‘Recovering the Subject: Subaltern Studies and histories of resistance in colonial South Asia’ Modern Asian Studies (Feb. 1988) Vol. 22 No. 1. JSTOR 2.
  • Dipesh Chakrabarty, ‘Postcoloniality and the artifice of history: Who speaks for “Indian” pasts?’ Representations (Winter 1992) No. 37, pp 1-26. JSTOR 3.
  • David Hardiman, ‘Introduction’ in Histories for the Subordinated (New Delhi, 2006) Histories for
    Subordinated – Intro.doc
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