New Books Network

Debjani Bhattacharyya, “Empire and Ecology in the Bengal Delta: The Making of Calcutta” (Cambridge UP, 2019)
Debjani Bhattacharyya’s Empire and Ecology in the Bengal Delta: The Making of Calcutta (Cambridge University Press) asks: What happens when a distant colonial power tries to tame an unfamiliar terrain in the world’s largest tidal delta? This history of dramatic ecological changes in the Bengal Delta from 1760 to 1920... Read More
Durba Mitra, “Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought” (Princeton UP, 2020)
During the colonial period in India, European scholars, British officials, and elite Indian intellectuals—philologists, administrators, doctors, ethnologists, sociologists, and social critics—deployed ideas about sexuality to understand modern Indian society. In Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought (Princeton UP, 2020), Durba Mitra shows how deviant... Read More
Omar H. Ali, “Malik Ambar: Power and Slavery across the Indian Ocean” (Oxford UP, 2016)
Omar H. Ali’s Malik Ambar: Power and Slavery across the Indian Ocean (Oxford University Press, 2016), provides insight into the life of slave soldier Malik Ambar. It offers a rare look at an individual who began in obscurity in the Horn of Africa and reached the highest levels of South... Read More
Sai Balakrishnan, “Shareholder Cities: Land Transformations Along Urban Corridors in India” (U Pennsylvania Press, 2019)
In the thoroughly researched, lucidly narrated new book Shareholder Cities: Land Transformations Along Urban Corridors in India (University of Pennsylvania Press), Sai Balakrishnan (Assistant Professor of City and Urban Planning at UC Berkeley) examines the novel phenomenon of the conversion of agrarian landowners into urban shareholders in India’s newly emerging... Read More
Malcolm Keating, “Controversial Reasoning in Indian Philosophy: Major Texts and Arguments on Arthâpatti” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020)
How do we know what we know?  The most prominent means of knowledge for Indian philosophers are direct perception (pratyakṣa), inference (anumāna) and authority (śabda). Then there is the much debated “postulation” (arthāpatti), a point of controversy among Mimamsa, Nyaya, and Buddhist philosophers. Consisting of translations of central primary texts and... Read More
Thomas R. Metcalf, “Imperial Connections: India in the Indian Ocean Arena, 1860-1920” (U California Press, 2008)
Thomas R. Metcalf’s Imperial Connections: India in the Indian Ocean Arena, 1860-1920 (University of California Press) is an innovative remapping of empire. Imperial Connections offers a broad-ranging view of the workings of the British Empire in the period when the India of the Raj stood at the center of a... Read More
Jonathan Lee, “Afghanistan: A History from 1260 to the Present” (Reaktion Books, 2019)
Jonathan Lee’s comprehensive study of Afghanistan’s political history in Afghanistan: A History from 1260 to the Present (Reaktion Books) tells the story of the emergence and sometimes surprising longevity of the Afghan state in the face of serious external and internal challenges over the last three centuries. Readers will find... Read More
Matty Weingast, “The First Free Women: Poems of the Early Buddhist Nuns” (Shambhala, 2020)
A radical and vivid rendering of poetry from the first Buddhist nuns that brings a new immediacy to their voices. The Therigatha (“Verses of the Elder Nuns”) is the oldest collection of known writings from Buddhist women and one of the earliest collections of women’s literature in India. Composed during the... Read More
Sana Aiyar, “Indians in Kenya: The Politics of Diaspora” (Harvard UP, 2015)
In Indians in Kenya: The Politics of Diaspora (Harvard University Press, 2015), Sana Aiyer investigates how Indian diasporic actors influenced the course of Kenya’s political history, from partnering with Europeans in their colonial mission in East Africa to political solidarity with Africans in their anticolonial struggles. Working as merchants, skilled tradesmen,... Read More
Audrey Truschke, “Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India’s Most Controversial King” (Stanford UP, 2017)
For many, the history of the Mughal empire looms heavy over contemporary South Asian social imaginaries. The lightning rod figure within modern day myths about the past is the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (1618-1707). Some think of him as a violent Muslim fanatic who went out of his way to oppress... Read More