Dr. Uday Chandra, 2013-2015
Uday Chandra is now at Georgetown University Qatar.
Uday Chandra received his PhD in political science from Yale University in 2013. His research interests lie at the intersection between agrarian studies, state formation, theories of power and resistance, postcolonial theory, political anthropology, and South Asian history.Uday's doctoral research revisited classic questions of power and resistance via a study of the origins and social bases of the ongoing Maoist insurgency in India. Moving beyond recent studies of civil wars, he conducted ethnographic fieldwork in the forests of eastern India to understand who rebels, how, and why. Living among the indigenous peoples of Jharkhand, listening to their songs, stories and histories, and undertaking fine-grained archival research, he discovered that armed resistance limited itself strategically to specific targets and was inseparable from peaceful forms of political claim-making on rural powerholders via petitions and demonstrations. His dissertation situated these varied acts of resistance, peaceful or violent, temporally within a historical process of negotiations between the modern state and its “tribal” subjects. Over the last two centuries, these negotiations with colonial and postcolonial Indian states have enabled claim-making subjects in these remote highlands to remake modern states from below even as they have been remade culturally and politically themselves.
Besides revising his dissertation into a book manuscript, Uday conducted ethnographic research on circular migration between the eastern Indian states of Bihar and Jharkhand and the city of Mumbai. Following low-caste (dalit) and tribal (adivasi) laborers along century-old train routes to the western Indian metropolis and back to their rural homes, he sought to understand the relationship between mobility, modernity, and the making of urban and rural spaces in contemporary India. In particular, he intended to focus on the ritual lives of these migrants, especially the processes of ritual innovation and transfer that are integral to their selfmaking.See also https://mmg-mpg.academia.edu/UdayChandra