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Dipesh Chakrabarty attended Presidency College of the University of Calcutta, where he received his undergraduate degree in physics. He also received a Post Graduate Diploma in Management (MBA) from Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. Later he moved on to the Australian National University in Canberra, from where he earned a PhD in history.
He is currently the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History, South Asian Languages and Civilizations and the College at the University of Chicago. He was a visiting faculty at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta. Chakrabarty also serves as a contributing editor for Public Culture, an academic journal published by Duke University Press.
He was a member of the Subaltern Studies collective. He has recently made important contributions to the intersections between history and postcolonial theory (Provincializing Europe [PE]), which continues and revises his earlier historical work on working-class history in Bengal (Rethinking Working-Class History). PE adds considerably to the debate of how postcolonial discourse engages in the writing of history (e.g., Robert J. C. Young's "White Mythologies"), critiquing historicism, which is intimately related to the West's notion of linear time. Chakrabarty argues that Western historiography's historicism universalizes liberalism, projecting it to all ends of the map. He suggests that, under the rubric of historicism, the end-goal of every society is to develop towards nationalism.
In 2014, Chakrabarty will deliver the IWM Lectures in Human Sciences in Vienna; he has also been invited by the Cankaya Municipality (Ankara, Turkey) to give a public lecture. Chakrabarty has been invited in 2014 to be the Principal’s Distinguished Visitor at Queens University, Canada; a Distinguished Visitor at the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook University, New York; and a visitor at the University of Barcelona, Spain. In 2013, he was invited to be a Nicholson Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Previously, Chakrabarty has been, by invitation, a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2008-09): Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, Vienna (2010); Lansdowne Lecturer at Victoria University, Canada (2012); Katz Professor in the Humanities, University of Washington, Seattle (2009); Hallsworth Visiting Professor, The University of Manchester, U.K. (2009); Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa (2007); Distinguished Visitor, Institute of Advanced Study, The University of Minnesota (2007); Visiting Professor, European Union Humanities University, Vilnius, Lithuania (2006); Scholar-in-Residence, Pratt Institute, New York (2005); Visiting Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Historical Sciences, Goettingen (2005); Faculty, Seminar in Experimental Critical Theory, University of California, Irvine (2005); Visiting Research Professor, University of Technology, Sydney (2005 and 2009); Visitor, Center for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi (2005); Visitor, Humanities Center, State University of New York, Stony Brook (2004); Hitesranjan Sanyal Visiting Professor of History, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (2003); Visiting Fellow, Humanities Institute, Princeton (2002); Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of California, Berkeley, and has held other fellowships in Australia, India, and the US.
- Habitations of Modernity: Essays in the Wake of Subaltern Studies (2002ope: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (2000)
- Provincializing Europe (2000)
- Rethinking Working-Class History: Bengal, 1890–1940 (1989)
- Cosmopolitanism (2002, editor, with Carol Breckenridge, Sheldon Pollock, and Homi K. Bhabha)
- Subaltern Studies (Vol. 9 editor, with Shahid Amin)
- Dixit: El humanismo en la era de la globalización, Buenos Aires y Madrid, Katz Barpal Editores, 2009, ISBN 978-84-96859-52-4
(Note: Many of his works will have separate and different publication dates for India and the US. Dates given are earliest publication dates, to give an indication of when the book was written more than when it was published.)
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2012), "Subaltern studies, post-colonial Marxism, and 'finding your place to begin from': an interview with Dipesh Chakrabarty.", in Browning, Gary; Dimova-Cookson, Maria; Prokhovnik, Raia, Dialogues with contemporary political theorists, Houndsmill, Basingstoke, Hampshire New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 58–73, ISBN 9780230303058