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Narendra Subramanian

Associate Professor
PhD, MIT

narendra [dot] subramanian [at] mcgill [dot] ca  Telephone: (514) 398-4400 x094400

For more information on Prof. Subramanian's work, see his Home Page.

Research interests

  • Comparative Politics
  • Identity Politics (Nationalism, Ethnicity, Religion, Gender, Race)
  • State-Formation, Citizenship and Law
  • Political Parties and Social Movements
  • Institutions, Public Culture and Democracy
  • Political Rights and Socio-Economic Inequality
  • South Asian Politics

Selected Publications

Books:

Nation and Family: Personal Law, Cultural Pluralism, and Gendered Citizenship in India, Stanford University Press, 2014.

Ethnicity and Populist Mobilization: Political Parties, Citizens and Democracy in South India, Oxford University Press, 1999.

 

Articles & Book Chapters:

Myths of the Nation, Cultural Recognition, and Personal Law in India” in Gérard Bouchard, ed., Whither National Myths? Reflections on the Present and Future of National Myths (New York: Routledge, 2013): 259-275. 

“Normative Vision, Cultural Accommodation, and Muslim Law Reform in India” in Akhil Gupta and Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan, eds., The State in India After Liberalization: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (London and New York: Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series, 2011): 155-174.

 “Making Family and Nation: Hindu Marriage Law in Early Postcolonial India”, Journal of Asian Studies 69.3 (August 2010): 771-798. 

“Ethnicity and Secession: Dravidianism, Kashmiri Nationalism, and the Sikh Movement” in Sanjib Baruah, ed., Ethnonationalism in India (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2010): 112-143.

 “Legal Change and Gender Inequality:  Changes in Muslim Family Law in India”, Law and Social Inquiry 33.3 (Summer 2008): 631-672.

Populism in India, SAIS Review of International Affairs, 27.1 (Winter-Spring 2007): 81-91. ()

 

Current Book Projects

From Bondage to Citizenship: The Enfranchisement and Empowerment of Dalits and African Americans

Heretics, Heroes and Citizens: Ethnicity and Populism in Tamil Nadu (South India), 2nd edition

 

Extracts from Book Reviews

Nation and Family:

"Nation and Family takes on the divisions of culture and religion in India and explores how they have played out in an unlikely setting: the courts and laws that adjudicate and regulate family life. Subramanian reveals how the experiences and struggles of diverse groups in fashioning personal law shaped the national project and the very meaning of modernity. A masterful exploration of nation-formation."—Joel S. Migdal, Robert F. Philip Professor of International Studies, University of Washington

"With tremendous insight and fine scholarship, Subramanian traces the debates and advances in religious family law in India, but also places that story in a broad framework.” —John Bowen, Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor in Arts and Sciences, Washington University in Saint Louis

Ethnicity and Populist Mobilization:

"Subramanian's analysis of regional patterns of political mobilization is path breaking and sets a new standard for social science research. It presents political organization in geographical detail and brings to light for the first time generative political subcultures ... It supplements new scholarship in other disciplines and puts cultural studies in particular in new light. At a time when global media soak the public with essentialist images of collective identity and when cultural studies continues to hold fast to nationality as it travels transnationally, this book shows how sharp political analysis can put nationality aside to reveal critical histories that national histories hide ... Addressing political science, it begins and ends with eloquent arguments about how the study of Tamil Nadu might inflect theory and method in the discipline ... It challenges theory and method in area studies by treating Tamil Nadu as distinct from the Indian national system and by using political organization to explain social and cultural outcomes." – David Ludden, Professor of Political Economy and Globalization, New York University, Journal of Asian Studies

"A dazzling piece of scholarship ... certainly the most important work to date on the politics of Dravidianism and an original contribution to the study of Indian politics." - American Political Science Review

"An outstanding study of Dravidian politics, the first to do full justice to the complexities and nuances of the subject, and the standard reference work for years to come. Pioneers new approaches to the study of Indian politics and contributes valuable new insights into the comparative study of ethnicity, populism, pluralism and democracy. In its light, many conventional understandings of India's recent political history will have to be revised and dark forebodings about the future of Indian democracy rethought." - David Washbrook, Cambridge University