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Manu Bhagavan
Position: Professor
Campus Affiliation: Graduate Center|Hunter College
Phone: 212-772-5482
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin
Research Interests: 20th-century India; intellectual history; human rights; constitutional history; postcolonial studies
Teaching Interests

Modern South Asian history, human rights, intellectual

Broad Areas of Dissertation Supervision

South Asia, Human Rights, (Inter)Nationalism, Intellectual, Postcolonial

Selected Publications


The Peacemakers: India and the Quest for One World. HarperCollins India, February 2012. Palgrave Macmillan, 9/13/2013.

India and the Quest for One World is the gripping story of India's quest to create a common destiny for all people across the world based on the concept of 'human rights'. In the years leading up to its independence from Great Britain, and more than a decade after, in a world torn asunder by unchecked colonial expansions and two world wars, Jawaharlal Nehru had a radical vision: bridging the ideological differences of the East and West, healing the growing rift between capitalist and communist, and creating 'One World' that would be free of empire, exploitation and war.
Madame Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Nehru's sister, would lead the fight in and through the United Nations to turn all this into a reality. An electric orator and outstanding diplomat, she travelled across continents speaking in the voice of the oppressed and garnering support for her cause. The aim was to lay the foundation for global governance that would check uncontrolled state power, address the question of minorities and migrant peoples, and put an end to endemic poverty. Mahatma Gandhi's legacy would go global. All that stood between the Indians and success was their own fallibility, diplomatic intrigue, and the blinding haze of mistrust and overwhelming fear engendered by the Cold War.
As Manu Bhagavan recounts the story of this quest, iconic figures are seen through new eyes as they challenge all of us to imagine a better future. Based on seven years of research, across three continents, this is the first truly international history of newly independent India.

Heterotopias: Nationalism and the Possibility of History in South Asia. Edited. Oxford University Press,

Speaking Truth to Power: Religion, Caste, and the Subaltern Question in India. Co-edited with Anne Feldhaus. Oxford University Press, 2008. Published in paperback, July 2009. Second printing, May 2010.

Claiming Power from Below: Dalits and the Subaltern Question in India. Co-edited with Anne Feldhaus. Oxford University Press, 2008. Published in paperback, July 2009

Sovereign Spheres: Princes, Education, and Empire in Colonial India. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Select Articles

"Princely States and the Making of Modern India: Internationalism, Constitutionalism and the Postcolonial Moment." In The Indian Economic and Social History Review, 46(3), September 2009: 427-456.

"A New Hope: India, the United Nations and the Making of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Modern Asian Studies, 44(2), March 2010: 311-347. Also published in MAS online 13 June 2008. Copyright Cambridge University Press.

"Princely States and the Hindu Imaginary: Exploring the Cartography of Hindu Nationalism in Colonial India." The Journal of Asian Studies, 67(3), August 2008: 881-915. Also published online 23 July 2008. Copyright Cambridge University Press.

"The Hindutva Underground: Hindu Nationalism and the Indian National Congress in Late Colonial and Early Postcolonial India." In The Economic and Political Weekly, Special Article, 13 September 2008: 39-48.