During the past two decades, at the same time that the South Asian presence in the U.S. and Europe has become an increasingly visible part of mainstream social life and popular culture, scholars of South Asian descent have come to occupy many prominent positions within the Western academy, contributing to the development of disciplines across the social sciences and humanities. In this collection of highly personal essays, leading figures in anthropology, history, and cultural and literary studies reflect on the complex interplay between individual and collective trajectories, examining their own experiences as students, scholars, and teachers. Their narratives trace the arc of interactions between East and West from the late colonial period, through Indian Independence, the Cold War, the radicalism of the 1960s, and the development of subaltern and postcolonial studies, to the current conjuncture. Throughout, these writers explore the past and future significance of area studies as a paradigm for education and scholarship.
Contributors are Shahid Amin, Arjun Appadurai, Urvashi Butalia, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Partha Chatterjee, Vasudha Dalmia, Prasenjit Duara, Ramachandra Guha, Akhil Gupta, Sudipta Kaviraj, Purnima Mankekar, Gyan Prakash, and Sanjay Subrahmanyam.