Dipesh Chakrabarty

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Dipesh Chakrabarty in 2012, in Herrenhausen at the conference Already Beyond? - 40 Years Limits to Growth.

Dipesh Chakrabarty (born 1948, Kolkata) is a historian, who has also made contributions to postcolonial theory and subaltern studies. He is the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor in history at the University of Chicago, and is the recipient of the 2014 Toynbee Prize, named for Professor Arnold J. Toynbee, that recognizes social scientists for significant academic and public contributions to humanity.[1]


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.[1]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

Chakrabarty has had an extensive program of visiting lecturships: Visiting Fellow, Humanities Institute, Princeton, USA (2002); Hitesranjan Sanyal Visiting Professor of History, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, University of Calcutta (2003); Visitor, Humanities Center, State University of New York, Stony Brook (2004); Visiting Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Historical Sciences, University of Göttingen, Germany (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); Scholar-in-Residence, Pratt Institute, New York (2005); Visiting Professor, European Humanities University, Vilnius, Lithuania (2006); Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Iowa (2007); Distinguished Visitor, Institute of Advanced Study, University of Minnesota (2007); Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2008–09): Katz Professor in the Humanities, University of Washington, Seattle (2009); Hallsworth Visiting Professor, University of Manchester, U.K. (2009); Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, Vienna, Austria (2010); Lansdowne Lecturer, Victoria University, Canada (2012); Nicholson Distinguished Visiting Scholar, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2013). In 2014, Chakrabarty delivered the IWM Lectures in Human Sciences in Vienna; a public lecture at Cankaya Municipality (Ankara, Turkey); Principal's Distinguished Visitor, Queen's University, Canada; Distinguished Visitor, Humanities Institute, Stony Brook University, New York; Visitor, University of Barcelona, Spain; Visiting Fellow, Humanities Research Centre, College of Arts & Social Sciences, Australian National University (2014);[2] GLASS scholar, Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) - Humanities University of Leiden, (2015).[3] Previously, Chakrabarty has been, by invitation, a Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of California, Berkeley, and has held other fellowships in Australia, India, and the US.[citation needed]

In 2017, Chakrabarty came under public scrutiny when a former student at the University of Chicago accused him of sexual misconduct.[4]


2004: Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences[citation needed]

2006: Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities[citation needed]

2010: Doctor of Letters (D. Litt (Honoris Causa)), University of London (conferred at Goldsmiths)[citation needed]

2011: honorary doctorate by the University of Antwerp, Belgium, in 2011; Distinguished Alumnus Award, Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Calcutta (conferred on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Institute in 2011)[5]

2014: Toynbee Prize, named for Professor Arnold J. Toynbee, that recognizes social scientists for significant academic and public contributions to humanity[1]



  • Rethinking Working-Class History: Bengal, 1890–1940 (1989)
  • Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (2000)
  • Habitations of Modernity: Essays in the Wake of Subaltern Studies (2002)
  • The Calling of History: Sir Jadunath Sarkar and His Empire of Truth (2015)

Edited volumes[edit]

  • Cosmopolitanism (2002), editor with Carol Breckenridge, Sheldon Pollock, and Homi K. Bhabha
  • From the Colonial to the Postcolonial: India and Pakistan in Transition (2007), editor with Rochona Majumdar and Andrew Sartori
  • Historical Teleologies in the Modern World (2015), editor with Henning Trüper and Sanjay Subrahmanyam

Selected articles[edit]

  • "Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History: Who Speaks for 'Indian' Pasts?" Representations 37 (Winter 1992): 1-26.
  • "The Death of History? Historical Consciousness and the Culture of Late Capitalism." Public Culture 4.2 (Spring 1992): 47-65.
  • "Universalism and Belonging in the Logic of Capital." Public Culture 12.3 (Fall 2000): 653-678.
  • "Where Is the Now?" Critical Inquiry 30 (Winter 2004): 458-462.
  • "The Climate of History: Four Theses." Critical Inquiry 35.2 (Winter 2009): 197–222.
  • "Postcolonial Studies and the Challenge of Climate Change." New Literary History 43.1 (Winter 2012): 1-18.
  • "Climate and Capital: On Conjoined Histories." Critical Inquiry 41.1 (Autumn 2014): 1–23.
  • "Humanities in the Anthropocene: The Crisis of an Enduring Kantian Fable." New Literary History 47.2-3 (Spring and Summer 2016): 377-397.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Dipesh Chakrabarty Named 2014 Toynbee Prize Recipient, Toynbee Prize Foundation, 9 July 2014, accessed 22 July 2015
  2. ^ HRC 2014 Visiting Fellows, Australian National University, accessed 24 July 2015
  3. ^ Dipesh Chakrabarty (Fall 2015), University of Leiden, accessed 24 July 2015
  4. ^ "UChicago and the Asymmetry of Power".
  5. ^ Dipesh Chakrabarthy, Heyman Centre, accessed 24 July 2015

Further reading[edit]

  • 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

External links[edit]