The Importance of Being Modern: A Chronicle of Contemporary India

This project involves the writing of a rather particular anthropological history of contemporary India. The focus is principally (but far from exclusively) on the author’s own high school cohort of around 200 women and men from Modern School, an elite day and residential institution in New Delhi. On the one hand, issues of affect, friendship, and (embodied) memories will be explored; and, on the other, forms of hierarchy, privilege, and entitlement will be tracked — the two enmeshed axes as ever entailing an interplay between the past and the present, the personal and the public in the making of India over the last forty years. The project is interdisciplinary, comparative, and experimental, and also allows for interchanges with South Africa (and Africa at large) in considerations of political economy and its meanings (including, e.g, a crony-casino-capitalist elite, legal and illegal mining fortunes, dispossession, and destitution).

Project leader(s):
  • Saurabh Dube (El Colegio de México)

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