Agrarian and Other Histories

Kenneth Bo Nielsen of the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo in Norway has a new review of Agrarian and Other Histories: Essays for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri, edited by Shubhra Chakrabarti and Utsa Patnaik.

Published in New Delhi by Tulika Books, the book is a festschrift for historian Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri, who was Professor of Economic and Social History at Calcutta University for nearly four decades until 1997. His academic publishing, celebrated in this volume, extended over some 55 years.

Nielsen observes that the book includes 13 essays, “all written by authors who are established authorities in their respective fields,” and has a and Introduction by Shubhra Chakrabarti that identifies the central themes of Chaudhuri’s work.

Noting that the book covers a range of diverse topics, Nielsen considers “the integration of agrarian and’“other’ histories within a single book is mostly successful.” He adds that, with a “focus on colonial India, and colonial Bengal in particular, Agrarian and Other Histories is likely to appeal first and foremost to historians working within either of these two fields.” At the same time, he considers it is significant “that the book arrives at a moment when renewed calls for more scholarship on agrarian transformations in India.

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