Submitted by Dwaipayan Sen on Wednesday, 6/20/2018, at 10:49 PM


Ph.D., The University of Chicago, History, 2012

M.A., The University of Chicago, Social Sciences, 2005

B.A., Oberlin College, History (honors) and English, 2004

International Baccalaureate, The Mahindra United World College of India, 2000


My immediate research interests concern the depoliticization of caste in Bengal over the cusp of India’s Partition and independence.  To this end, my book The Decline of the Caste Question: Jogendranath Mandal and the Defeat of Dalit Politics in Bengal (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press in 2018), examines the political career of a remarkably forgotten Dalit leader, in an attempt to explain the puzzling sublation of caste politics during this tumultuous period in modern South Asia’s past.  The study foregrounds the various ways in which successive generations of upper-caste politicians worked to thwart, and ultimately contain his efforts to build a Dalit movement.

Other publications have appeared in The Indian Economic and Social History ReviewHistory Compass, Modern Asian Studies, Himal, and The Wire.  They can be accessed at the following link:


My next book-project is provisionally titled At Home in Europe: The Colonial Census and Subalternity in Modern India.  Methodologically, a blend of social and intellectual history, the study will offer a fine-grained analysis of the means whereby the colonial censuses of late 19th and early-to-mid-20th century India were undertaken.  Stemming from my fascination with the history of category and concept formation, I shall invite consideration of how and why variously marginalized communities appear to have engaged with great assiduity and care, with what much extant scholarship has rendered an exemplary process of epistemological violence wrought by colonial rule

Additional and ongoing projects include individual papers on the relations between the colonial state, marginalized groups, and liberalism; a history of Partition as a caste Hindu project; and a brief reconsideration of late-19th century caste formation and nomenclature in eastern India. 

Broadly construed, I remain interested in the formation and development of caste and religious identities and movements; the political, social, and intellectual history of modern Bengal and South Asia; social and political theory, and historiography.


I teach introductory surveys on medieval and early modern, and modern South Asian history, more thematically focussed courses on caste in modern South Asian history, M.K. Gandhi, Indian nationalism, Subaltern Studies, as well as the History department's historiographical requirement, Writing the Past. I hope to offer advanced courses on British colonialism in India, decolonization in the 20th century, the Mughal Empire, and postcolonial South Asia, in forthcoming semesters.  My principal pedagogical objective is to invite my students to enter into the historical and historiographical debates that define the South Asian past so as to support and enrich their efforts to articulate their own scholarly positions and interventions.  In recognition of these efforts, the Association of Amherst Students awarded me the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2017, an accolade that goes to the faculty member who best represents the College’s dedication to quality, engaged teaching.