➻ Dipesh Chakrabarty [1948]

por Teoría de la historia

Dipesh Chakrabarty, nacido en India, se diplomó en física en la Universidad de Calcuta, ciudad en que también estudió administración de empresas. Se doctoró en filosofía en la Universidad Nacional de Australia, en Camberra. En la actualidad es profesor de Historia, Lenguajes y Civilización del Sudeste Asiático en la Universidad de Chicago y miembro del Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory. Estudioso de las convergencias de la historia y el pensamiento poscolonial así como de las transformaciones de la política de masas en el subcontinente indio, es autor, entre otros títulos, de Habitations of Modernity: Essays in the Wake of Subaltern Studies (2002). Ha coeditado además diversas obras colectivas, entre los que destaca: From the Colonial to the Postcolonial: India and Pakistan in Transition (2007).

[Fuente: Tusquets Editores]

Chakrabarty is currently Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of History and the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. His interdisciplinary analyses of the claims, procedures and evolution of historical knowledge and its profound involvement with questions of nationalism, colonial rule, modernization, economic and political development and politics at large have placed him among the leading figures in the field. Peter Goddard, Director of the Institute, said of the appointment, “Dipesh Chakrabarty is a historian of extraordinary range and depth whose work has reshaped our understanding of colonial and postcolonial history. His work, characterized by exceptional rigor, originality and brilliance, has been widely influential. We look forward to his joining our community.” “The global impact of Chakrabarty’s scholarship, his personal commitment to intellectual community and the far-reaching range of his research network prepare him well for the thoughtful, energizing leadership expected of Faculty at the IAS,” noted Danielle Allen, UPS Foundation Professor in the School of Social Science. “We are delighted that he will join us.” “I am delighted and honored to have the opportunity to contribute to and share in the rich and innovative intellectual life of the Institute,” stated Dipesh Chakrabarty. “I look forward to being part of the academic conversations and interactions the IAS makes possible.” Regarded as one of the founders of a new comparative and transnational history, Chakrabarty has reshaped the field of history through his analyses of political, economic and social formations and spurred reformulations of core concepts in the social sciences. Initially trained in physics, Chakrabarty earned a B.Sc. from the University of Calcutta in 1969, and, in 1971, a Postgraduate Diploma in Management (an MBA equivalent) from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. During his business school years, Chakrabarty became interested in India’s economic and social development, and in particular the challenges faced by the country, as seen through the lens of India’s colonial past and postcolonial present. He obtained his Ph.D. in History from the Australian National University in 1984, working under D. A. Low, the noted historian of modern South Asia and Africa. Chakrabarty’s graduate research on Bengal’s working class at the turn of the nineteenth century served as the basis for his first book, Rethinking Working-Class History: Bengal 1890–1940 (1989). Inspired by E. P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class (1963), Chakrabarty confronted the question of whether European models could be applied to the history of the Indian working classes and challenged whether the category of “the working class” was too deeply tied to its European origins to transfer effectively to any part of the world, wherever a recognizable labor force exists. The book introduced new methodological innovations and led to the development of a historiographic method that closely scrutinized the relations among historically specific social formations, the conceptual tools of social analysis arising from them and the relative transferability of those tools to different contexts. In Chakrabarty’s second book, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (2000; second edition, 2007), he systematically investigated how and in what sense European ideas that were labeled “universal” were drawn from very specific intellectual traditions and historical contexts that left their marks on these ideas even when they could claim a degree of universal validity. In his examination of historical thinking and postcolonial perspectives, Chakrabarty used the context of the middle-class Bengali culture in which he grew up to explain how the “heterotemporal horizons” of locality anchor the structures of sentiment, emotion and practices that inform the terms used for universalizing purposes. In employing new tools of social analysis, Chakrabarty’s goal was to understand “how universalistic thought was always and already modified by particular histories, whether or not we could excavate such pasts fully,” and he advocated that such an approach was necessary to compare different political and social formations. Chakrabarty is also among the founders of the highly influential field of inquiry known as subaltern studies and is part of a collective of scholars that has published the series Subaltern Studies. Subaltern studies draws on the idea that peasants, once ridiculed by Marx and other social thinkers for their “rural idiocy,” may have a positive political role to play in effecting social transformation in ex-colonial countries. India, in particular, provided fertile ground for examination into these concepts; when its constitution was enacted in 1950, it granted the right to vote to all adult Indians, the majority of whom were rural and nonliterate, effectively turning peasants into democratic citizens overnight. In examining India’s peasant-democracy, Chakrabarty and his collaborators explored several interrelated topics: the political agency of subaltern classes, the historical genealogies of the nation-state as a form of political organization and the deep complicity of the discipline of history with the phenomenon of nationalism. This work was part of the wave of democratic ideas that swept the liberal-democratic world in the wake of 1968 and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Chakrabarty’s current work is centered on a project on anthropogenic climate change and its implications for historical and political thinking; its launching point was his influential essay “The Climate of History: Four Theses,” published in Critical Inquiry in 2009. He is also pursuing a major project on the history of “historical truth” with a focus on the Indian historian Sir Jadunath Sarkar (1870–1958). In a forthcoming book, “The Calling of History,” Chakrabarty explains how, before history became a profession in India in the 1930s, historians questioned and debated ideas and practices such as source criticism, research in history, the transformation of old papers into “records,” the institution of the archive, the idea of historical truth and related questions. Chakrabarty posits that while disciplines have a global life at the level of journals and publications, they also have plural and heterogeneous social lives through the histories of the institutions in which they operate and their different national contexts. Additionally, Chakrabarty is developing two other long-term projects: one on democracy and political thought in South Asia and the other on a cultural history of Muslim-Bengali nationalism. Chakrabarty has lectured extensively throughout the world, and his books and articles have been or are being translated into many languages, including Arabic, French, Spanish, Italian, Korean, German, Chinese, Turkish, Polish, Portuguese and Hungarian. He serves as a coeditor of Critical Inquiry, is a founding editor of Postcolonial Studies and is on the editorial boards of leading scholarly publications in the United States, India, Europe and Australia. Chakrabarty is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. In 2007, he received the Eminent Scholar Award of the Global Development Section of the International Studies Association. He was awarded a D.Lit. (Honoris Causa) from the University of London (2010) and an honorary doctorate from the University of Antwerp (2011). In 2011, his alma mater, the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, honored him with a Distinguished Alumnus Award on the fiftieth anniversary of the Institute. Chakrabarty is currently Chair of the Provostial Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on the Proposed University Center in India, and he is a member of the Board of Advisors on non-Western Art and Museums of the Humboldt Forum in Germany. Chakrabarty is a Faculty Fellow of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory at the University of Chicago, Affiliate Faculty in the university’s Department of English and Associate Faculty in the Department of Comparative Literature. He also has a courtesy appointment at the university’s Law School. Before being appointed to the University of Chicago in 1995, Chakrabarty served as Associate Professor and Director of the Ashworth Centre for Social Theory at the University of Melbourne from 1992–95, where he was a Senior Lecturer in the Department of History (1989–90), a Lecturer and Deputy Chairman in the Department of Indian and Indonesian Studies (1985–87) and a Lecturer on Indian Studies (1982). He was a Senior Research Fellow in Pacific and Asian History at the Research School of Pacific Studies at the Australian National University (1991) and was a Fellow at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences in Calcutta (1974–76). He served as a Research Officer in the Industrial Democracy Research Unit of the Department of Defence Support of the Commonwealth of Australia in Canberra (1983–84) and was Senior Project Officer at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (1971–73).

[Fuente: Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein Drive, Princeton, New Jersey, 16 de marzo de 2012]