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This is a book about prejudice and democracy, and the prejudice of democracy. In comparing the historical struggles of two geographically disparate populations – Indian Dalits (once known as Untouchables) and African Americans – Gyanendra Pandey, the leading subaltern historian, examines the multiple dimensions of prejudice in two of the world's leading democracies. The juxtaposition of two very different locations and histories and, within each of these, of varying public and private narratives of struggle, allows for an uncommon analysis of the limits of citizenship in modern societies and states. Pandey, with his characteristic delicacy, probes the histories of his protagonists to uncover a shadowy world where intolerance and discrimination are part of both public and private lives. This unusual and sobering book is revelatory in its exploration of the contradictory history of promise and denial that is common to the official narratives of nations such as India and the United States and the ideologies of many opposition movements.Read more
- Distinguished subaltern historian compares the lives and histories of African Americans and Indian Dalits through their experience of prejudice
- More broadly, he questions why democracy is still denied to large swathes of the population and what this tells us about modern society
- For students of subaltern history and all those concerned with questions of race, slavery and political marginalization
Reviews & endorsements
"… it is uncontestable that Pandey has extended our understanding of how prejudice, as both embodied practice and discourse, can be studied comparatively."
Mary Hancock, Journal of Interdisciplinary HistorySee more reviews
"… thought-provoking work …"
Rajen Harshe, Seminar (India-Seminar.com)
"… a wonderful work …"
Nardina Kaur, Radical Philosophy
"This ambitious study aims to provide a conceptual picture of ‘prejudice and democracy as well as the prejudice of democracy’ in two of the world’s leading democracies: India and the United States … this is an interesting and extremely valuable book, which advances our understanding of the shaping of the modern, and it will be useful to many fields."
Shailaja Paik, Social History
"… the book is a challenge: challenge to the way we think about ourselves and the world around us: it is also a challenge to what we think to be our history and what that history excludes."
Rudrangshu Mukherjee, The Telegraph (Calcutta)
"… this book has much to offer comparative historians. Pandey’s strength is his unpacking of the ways memoir and historiography shape an ongoing discourse about both the nature of the two movements for equality and their engagement with larger political cultures. For Americanists, the Dalit material will be fresh and provocative, and the author’s discussion of the limitations of struggle aimed at liberal inclusion in both places should prompt useful questions about the consequent elision of other forms of oppression."
Rick Halpern, Journal of American History
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- Date Published: March 2013
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107609389
- length: 255 pages
- dimensions: 226 x 152 x 13 mm
- weight: 0.35kg
- contains: 9 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
2. Prejudice as difference
3. Dalit conversion: the assertion of sameness
4. Double V: the everyday of race relations
5. An African-American autobiography: re-locating difference
6. Dalit memoirs: re-scripting the body
7. The persistence of prejudice.
Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses
- History of Decolonization
- Oral History, Migration and the Archive
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