New Books Network

Yasmin Saikia, “Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh: Remembering 1971” (Duke UP, 2011)
It’s almost a cliche to say that war dehumanizes those who participate in it – the organizers of violence, those who commit violent acts, and the victims of violence. In her new book, Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh: Remembering 1971 (Duke University Press, 2011), historian Yasmin Saikia seeks... Read More
Vera Tolz, “Russia’s Own Orient: The Politics of Identity and Oriental Studies in the late Imperial and Early Soviet Periods” (Oxford UP, 2011)
Everyone knows that the late nineteenth-century Russian Empire was the largest land based empire around, and that it was growing yet- at fifty-five square miles a day, no less. But how did Moscow and St. Petersberg go about making the bewildering array of peoples and ethnicities into subjects subject of... Read More
Cecilia Leong-Salobir, “Food Culture in Colonial Asia: A Taste of Empire” (Routledge, 2011)
Hobson-Jobson was not just about administration and geopolitics- the language of Empire extended to its culinary endeavours as well. Thus chota hazri, tiffin,and curry puffs at Peliti’s were the things that sustained an army of civil servants as they went about registering land records in the United Provinces, negotiating with... Read More
Mark Bradley, “Classics and Imperialism in the British Empire” (Oxford UP, 2010)
The Greco-Roman world was the prism through which the British viewed their imperial efforts, and Mark Bradley’s compendium Classics and Imperialism in the British Empire (Oxford University Press, 2010) explores the various ways in which this reception of the classics occurred. From museums, to oratorical texts, to theories of race,... Read More
Vinayak Chaturvedi, “Peasant Pasts: History and Memory in Western India” (University of California Press, 2007)
The odds are that if you don’t figure in an administration’s records, you won’t figure in the historical record. But what do you do to get into those records? Raising a ruckus is one way. But that works only if someone else hasn’t managed to raise more of a ruckus... Read More
Howard Spodek, “Ahmedabad: Shock City of Twentieth Century India” (Indiana University Press, 2011)
As Ahmedabad, the chief city of Gujarat state in Western India, puts itself up as a contender for World Heritage status, Howard Spodek’s lovely book, Ahmedabad: Shock City of Twentieth Century India (Indiana University Press, 2011), can only give a boost to its campaign. This book is a discrete, yet... Read More
Nile Green, “Bombay Islam: The Religious Economy of the West Indian Ocean, 1840-1915” (Cambridge UP, 2011)
Bombay (Mumbai), India, is a city that has never lacked chroniclers from Rudyard Kipling to Salman Rushdie to Suketu Mehta, bards of pluralism have written about Bombay’s divers religions and peoples and the interactions between them. Now here comes a fantastic new book on the much touted ‘cosmopolitan culture,’ as... Read More
Robert Parthesius, “Dutch Ships in Tropical Waters: The Development of the Dutch East India Company Shipping Network in Asia 1595-1660” (Amsterdam UP, 2010)
The Dutch broke the Portuguese commercial and colonizing monopoly in the East in 1595; the seal might have been said to have been set on this triumph when they took over the port of Melaka in 1641, effectively replacing the Portuguese as the masters of maritime Asia. The famed ‘Dutch... Read More
Katharine E. McGregor, “History in Uniform: Military Ideology and the Construction of Indonesia’s Past” (NUS Press, 2007)
Nugroho Notosusanto (1930-1985) never pursued a military career; but all the same he did his bit for the Indonesian armed forces. He was co-opted into the Armed Forces History Centre as a young academic, and dedicated the greater part of his life to writing official histories of post-colonial Indonesia in... Read More
Tilman Nachtman, “Nabobs: Empire and Identity in Eighteenth-Century Britain” (Cambridge UP, 2010)
The many penniless English servants of the East India Company who landed at Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta in the eighteenth-century were not terribly interested in uplifting the natives. They were, however, very keen to enrich themselves. And, by wheeling and dealing in the markets and courts of the subcontinent, a... Read More