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I am a historian of South Asia with particular interests in
colonial and postcolonial India, racism and social exclusion, subaltern
histories, and histories of democracy. My research focuses on Dalits
(‘untouchables’) of India and their engagement with colonialism,
nationalism, spatial and social exclusionary regimes, and democratic
thought and practice in modern India. I have recently finished a
co-edited book, Dalit Studies, with my colleague K. Satyanarayana
based in Hyderabad (India), Duke University Press, 2016. I am currently
writing a second book, ‘The Dalit Public Sphere: A Subaltern history
Liberalism and Democratic Practices’ which explores the role of Dalit
groups in introducing innovative ideas and practices in the history of
liberal thought. The second book project has received generous support
from the Smuts Visiting Fellowship, University of Cambridge, the
American Council of Learned Societies’ Charles A. Ryskamp Research
Fellowship, and the Senior Fellowship from the American Institute of
My first book, Reconsidering Untouchability: Chamars and Dalit History
in North India (Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2012 & Bloomington: Indiana
University Press, 2011), is the recipient of Joseph Elder book prize
awarded by American Institute of Indian Studies (2009) and received
‘Honorable Mention’ in 2013 Association of Asian Studies Bernard S. Cohn
book prize. Building on extensive archival and ethnographic fieldwork, Reconsidering Untouchability questioned the association of
untouchability with impure occupations by effectively demonstrating that
Dalits were historically cultivators who were primarily engaged in
agricultural production in north India. It examined the social and
cultural politics and Hindi-language writings of Dalit activists and
organizations from the early part of the twentieth century to
demonstrate that their struggles over identity marked the beginning of a
I received my B.A from the University of Delhi, where I
also completed M.A. and M.Phil (1996). I received my doctorate under a
joint doctoral program from the University of Delhi and the
International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam (2006). My doctoral
research was supported by a Harry Frank Guggenheim dissertation
fellowship (2003), and the four-year SEPHIS fellowship (1999-2002)
awarded by The Netherlands.
South Asian edition of Reconsidering Untouchability: Chamars and Dalits in North India (Ranikhet (India): Permanent Black, 2012)
Reconsidering Untouchability: Chamars and Dalit History in North India (Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2012 & Bloomington; Indiana University Press, 2011)
Ramnarayan S Rawat and K. Satyanarayana, editors, Dalit Studies (Durham: Duke University Press, Spring 2016)
Ramnarayan Rawat and K. Satyanarayana, “Introduction,” in Rawat and Satyanarayana, (ed.), Dalit Studies. Duke University Press, Spring 2016.
Ramnarayan Rawat, “Colonial Archive versus Colonial Sociology: Writing North Indian Dalit History,” in Rawat and Satyanarayana, (ed.), Dalit Studies. Duke University Press, Spring 2016.
“Struggle for Identities: Chamar Histories and Politics,” in Sumit Sarkar & Tanika Sarkar (ed.), Caste Reader(Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2013)
“The Making of a Dalit Perspective: The 1940s and the Chamars of Uttar Pradesh”, in Manu Bhagavan and Anne Feldhaus (eds.), Claiming Power from Below: Dalits and the Subaltern Question in India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2008)
“Partition Politics and Achhut Identity: A Study of Scheduled Castes Federation and Dalit politics in U.P. 1946-1948,” in Suvir Kaul, ed., The Partitions of Memory (Delhi: Permanent Black, 2001 and Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2002)
“Genealogies of Dalit Political: Transformation of Achhut from ‘Untouched’ to ‘Untouchable’ in early-twentieth century North India,” Indian Economic and Social History Review, vol. 15, 3, 2015
December, 2013, “Occupation, Dignity, and Space: The Rise of Dalit Studies,” review essay on Dalit Studies for online peer reviewed journal History Compass
“Making Claims for Power: A New Agenda in Dalit Politics of Uttar Pradesh, 1946-48,” Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 37, No. 3, 2003
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