Vasant Kaiwar

Lecturing Fellow

External address: 
312 Carr Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90719, Durham, NC 27708-0719
(919) 684-5439


My research and scholarship focuses on the period from the late-eighteenth century to the present, a period marked by revolutions and counterrevolutions, imperialism, nationalism and decolonization, the intensification of processes of globalization, and the ideologies and categories of knowledge production associated with those developments.  In terms of historical-geographic focus my research is interested in analyzing three historical junctures in which ‘India’ as an object of study and generation of counter-systemic knowledge has played a vital part.  The three junctures are respectively: the early-nineteenth century (the origination and elaboration of the ‘Oriental Renaissance’); the period from about 1914 to 1942 (nationalist ideology and praxis, particularly the Gandhian version and its returns); and the period from about the early 1980s to the present (postcolonial historiography and theory).  In all three junctures, a profound dislocation, impending or actual sense of loss accompanied efforts to contain the fallout of what many saw, and see, as changes that would endanger the foundations of their world.  Those real-world contexts fuelled a process of knowledge production that brought together a range of old and new disciplines in innovative combinations and enabled original interventions in crucial debates.

My book, The Postcolonial Orient: The Politics of Difference and the Project of Provincializing Europe is intended both as an intervention in the historiography of colonial and post-colonial India and a contribution to a critique of postcolonial theory.  In doing so, the book tries to show the affinities of the Romantic Orientalism of the late-eighteenth and early nineteenth century, Subaltern Studies from its inception, and postcolonial theory as a form of expatriate intellectual production in the metropolitan academy.  Within these broad coordinates of time and space, this work takes up issues of capital, modernity and postmodernity and the salience of this kind of periodization for understanding a history of the present.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles 1989

Kaiwar, V. "Famines of Structural Adjustment in Colonial India." In Nationalism and Imperialism in South and Southeast Asia: Essays in Honour of Damodar R. SarDesai,edited by R Long and A Kaminsky. Manohar, 2012. (Essay)

Kaiwar, V. "Post-colonialism, Eurocentrism, and the Question of Universalism." In World Orders Revisited,edited by U Engel and M Middell, 17-51. University of Leipzig Press, 2010. (Essay)

Kaiwar, V, and Mazumdar, S. "Coordinates of Orientalism: Reflections on the Antinomy of the Universal and the Particular." In From Orientalism to Postcolonialism: Asia-Europe and the Lineages of Difference, 19-43. Routledge, 2009. (Essay)

Kaiwar, V. "Hybrid and Alternative Modernities: Critical Reflections on Postcolonial Studies and the Project of Provincializing Europe." In From Orientalism to Postcolonialism: Asia-Europe and the Lineages of Difference,edited by S Mazumdar, V Kaiwar, and T Labica, 206-238. Routledge, 2009. (Essay)

Kaiwar, V. "Colonialism, difference and exoticism in the formation of the postcolonial metanarrative." In Pierre Guerlain and Thierry Madjid Labica (eds.), Perspectives transatlantiques sur les empires, Colloque organisé a l’université de Paris, X, Nanterre, Publications Paris X. L’université de Caen, 2007.

Kaiwar, V. "Towards Orientalism and Nativism: The Impasse of Subaltern Studies." In Historical Materialism, 189-248. 2004.

Kaiwar, V. "The Aryan Model of History: The Politics of Identity in an Age of Revolutions, Colonialism and Nationalism." In The Antinomies of Modernity,edited by V Kaiwar and S Mazumdar. Verso Press, U.K, 2003.

Kaiwar, V. "Race, Orient, Nation in the Time-Space Modernity." In The Antinomies of Modernity,edited by V Kaiwar and S Mazumdar. Verso Press, U.K, 2003. (Chapter)

Kaiwar, V. "Improvement without Revolution: The Impasse of Colonial Agriculture Science." In Festschrift for Stanley Wolpert,edited by R Long. Delhi: Orient Longman, 2001.

Kaiwar, V. "What is Postcolonial Orientalism and How Does it Matter?." Transeuropéennes (Paris), (December 2010).

Kaiwar, V. "Experiments in South Africa." Economic and Political Weekly 42 (January 2007): 111-113. (Academic Article)

Kaiwar, V. "Silences in Postcolonial Thought." Economic and Political Weekly 40 (August 2005): 3732-3738. (Academic Article)

Vasant Kaiwar, . "Comments on Fascism and 'Functional Substitutes for Fascism'." Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 20 (2002): 91-104. (Academic Article)

Kaiwar, V. "Nature, property and polity in colonial Bombay." JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES 27, no. 2 (January 2000): 1-49. Full Text

Kaiwar, V. "The Paradoxes of Modernity." Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 18, no. 2 (December 1, 1998): 15-16. (Review)


Mazumdar, S, Kaiwar, V, and Labica, T. "From Orientalism to Postcolonialism: Asia, Europe and the lineages of difference." From Orientalism to Postcolonialism: Asia, Europe and the Lineages of Difference 9780203872314 (September 15, 2009): 1-244. Full Text

Kaiwar, V, and Mazumdar, S. "The coordinates of orientalism: Reflections on the universal and the particular." (September 15, 2009): 19-42. (Chapter) Full Text