Princeton professor to examine global phenomenon of politics of resentment

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Professor Gyan Prakash

An Indian-American professor at New Jersey’s Princeton University will lead six scholars from around the world in a program focusing on “The Culture and Politics of Resentment.”

Professor Gyan Prakash, the Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, will direct the program that has invited six Fung Global Fellows, starting this Fall. The Fung Global Fellows Program, administered by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, brings together international research scholars from the social sciences and humanities around a common topic.

“I suggested the topic to the Fung Committee when I was asked to direct the program. It agreed that we needed to examine the global phenomenon of the politics and resentment – Trump, Modi, Brexit, Le Pen, Erdogwan, etc. – beyond the headlines,” Prakash told Desi Talk.

“Given that the rise of populist politics that relies on a powerful sense of resentment has important implications for democracy across the world, our idea is to explore it from a historical perspective and from different disciplinary points of view,” Prakash explained.

He will hold a series of seminars, lectures, and conferences on the topic during the year.

Prakash said resentment is a powerful emotion that is born of experiences and memories of humiliation, oppression and marginalization to produce demands for political inclusion and justice around the world.

“Alternatively, rage against what is seen as the ‘tyranny of the minority,’ inequality, the corruption and aloofness of elites, the ‘foreign,’ and the illegitimate have generated powerful populist upsurges against the perceived enemies of a homogeneous body of ‘the people’,” he is quoted saying in a press release from the university.

The six fellows selected for 2017-18 program funded by a portion of the $10 million gift from alumnus William Fung, includes Miranda Jakiša, a professor of South and East Slavic literatures and cultures at Humboldt University in Berlin; Daniel Karell, an assistant professor of sociology in the Division of Social Science at New York University in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Olga Panteleeva, a lecturer in musicology in the Department of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands; Jürgen Schaflechner, an assistant professor of South Asian studies at Heidelberg University in Germany; Yunus Sözen, an assistant professor in the Department of International Relations at Özyeğin University in Istanbul; Sjoerd van Tuinen, an assistant professor in philosophy at Erasmus University in the Netherlands.

Prakash specializes in the history of modern India. His book “Mumbai Fables” (Princeton University Press and Harper Collins, India), was adapted for the film, “Bombay Velvet”, released in 2015, for which he wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay.

His general field of research and teaching interests concerns urban modernity, the colonial genealogies of modernity, and problems of postcolonial thought and politics. He advises graduate students on modern South Asian history, colonialism and postcolonial theory, urban history, global history, and history of science.

He is the author of several books including “Bonded Histories: Genealogies of Labor Servitude in Colonial India” (1990), and “Another Reason: Science and the Imagination of Modern India” (1999), and has co-authored a book on world history, “Worlds Together, Worlds Apart” (2002). He has also produced an edited volume, “Noir Urbanisms: Dystopic Images of the Modern City,” and a co-edited volume, “Utopia/Dystopia: Historical Conditions of Possibility” which were published by Princeton University Press in Fall 2010.

“The Tower of Silence”, a book based on a 1927 detective novel manuscript that he discovered and edited, was published in 2013.

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