Prof. Ishita Banerjee-Dube

  • Prof.  Ishita Banerjee-Dube

    Center for Asian and African Studies                               

    El Colegio de México,          

    Mexico, DF 10740


    1994        Ph.D. in History, University of Calcutta, India.

    1989       Research Training Program, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, India.

    1987      M.A. in History, University of Calcutta, India, First division, gold medal for securing first position.

    1984    B.A. in History, Lady Brabourne College, Calcutta, India, First Division.

    Professional Positions, Fellowships, and Affiliations

    • Spring 2016   Affiliate, National Archives of India (Bhubaneswar Branch).
    • Spring 2015   Invited Professor, Simon Bolivar Andean University, Quito, Ecuador.
    • Spring 2010   Fellow, School of Women’s Studies, Jadavpur University, Calcutta, India.
    • Since 2009      National Researcher, Center for Asian and African Studies, El Colegio de México, Mexico City, Mexico
    • Spring 2002 Visiting Associate Professor, Department of History & Maxwell School of Citizenship, Syracuse University, Syracuse, USA.
    • Since 2000      Profesora-Investigadora (Professor-Researcher), Centre for Asian and African Studies, El Colegio de México, Mexico City, Mexico.
    • Spring 1999     Visiting Scholar, South Asia Program, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA.
    • Fall 1997         Scholar Affiliate, International Programs, University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA.
    • 1995-2000       Investigadora Visitante (Visiting Researcher), Center for Asian and African Studies, El Colegio de México, Mexico City, Mexico.
    • 1993-1995       Fellow, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, India.
    • 1991      DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Research Awardee, Kiel   University, and South-Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.
    • Doctoral Fellow, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, India.


    1. Books
    • A History of Modern India(Cambridge, New York and New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2015). Review in The Hindu, February 2015).
    • Religion, Law and Power: Tales of Time in Eastern India, 1860-2000(London: Anthem Press, 2007). Paperback edition 2009. South Asia edition, Anthem Press India, 2012. Review in Indian Economic and Social History Review (45, 4, 2008); Purba Darshan: A Journal of Asian Studies (1, 2013).
    • Fronteras del hinduismo: El estado y la fe en la India moderna[Frontiers of Hinduism: The State and the Faith in Modern India] (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 2007). Reviews in Historia Mexicana (58, 1, 2008)) and Istor (9, 33, 2008).
    • Divine Affairs: Religion, Pilgrimage, and the State in Colonial and Postcolonial India(Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study, 2001). Reviews in American Anthropologist(105, 2, 2003), The Journal of Asian Studies (62, 1, 2003), Indian Economic and Social History Review (41, 2, 2004), The Telegraph (6 September 2002) and other journals and dailies.
    • Daaru Prathima na Poojibe[We Shall Not Worship the Wooden Image] (co-authored with Fanindam Deo and Saurabh Dube). Series: Akshara Chintan. Series Editor: D. R. Nagaraj (Sagar, Karnataka: Akshara, 1993). This book in Kannada discusses the initiatives of untouchable and lower caste groups in eastern and central India in the nineteenth century. Put together as part of wider contemporary cultural politics of dalit (literally downtrodden, untouchable) initiatives in South India.

    In Process

    • Historia de india moderna, revised version in two volumes of A History of Modern India( Approved for publication by El Colegio de México).
    1. Edited Books and Special Numbers of Journals
    • Cooking Cultures: Convergent Histories of Food and Feeling (Cambridge University Press, 2016).
    • Culturas Culinarias: Comida y Sociedad en Asia y África [Culinary Cultures: Food and Society in Asia and Africa], commemorative number, Estudios de Asia y Africa L, 158: 4 (september-december 2015, Mexico City: El Colegio de México, edited on invitation).
    • Historia Reciente de India[Recent History of India, co-edited with Saurabh Dube], ISTORJournal of International History, XV: 59 (Mexico City: CIDE, 2014, edited on invitation).
    • Otras Modernidades: Historias, Culturas, Identidades(co-edited with Saurabh Dube, Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 2011).
    • De lo Antiguo a lo Moderno: Religión, Poder y Comunidad en India[Ancient to Modern] (co-edited with Saurabh Dube, Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 2011). Review in Estudios de Asia y África 48: 2 (2013).
    • Caste in HistoryModern Indian Perspectives. Serie: Themes in Indian History, Nueva Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2008. Review in The Book Review, vol. 32, núm. 1, 2008; and in indian newspapers The Hindustan TimesThe Hindu, 2008. Reprint 2010, 2012, 2013.
    • Popular Religion and Ascetic Practices: New Studies on Mahima Dharma(with Johannes Beltz), New Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 2008. Review in Himal Southasian, Rabindra K. Swain, “The Ascetic Householder” (Oct., 2010).
    • Ancient to Modern: Religion, Power, Communit in India(co-edited with Saurabh Dube, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009). Reviews in The Book Review and The Hindu.
    • Tradition and Truth: Writings in Indian and Western Philosophy (Essays by S.P. Banerjee), (New Delhi: Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 2009).
    • Caste in History.Series: Themes in Indian History (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2008). Paperback edition 2009; reprint, 2010, 2012. Reviews in Hindustan TimesThe Hindu 2008, and The Book Review (32, 1, 2008).
    • Popular Religion and Ascetic Practices: New Studies on Mahima Dharma. (co-edited with Johannes Beltz), (New Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 2008). Review in Himal Southasian (Oct., 2010).
    • Ancient to Modern: Religion, Power, and Community in India(with Saurabh Dube), (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009).
    • Modernidades ColonialesOtros Pasados, Historias Presentes[Colonial Modernities: Other Pasts, Present Histories]. Volume of essays co-edited with Walter Mignolo and Saurabh Dube. (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 2004). Reprint 2010.
    • Unbecoming Modern:Colonialism, Modernity, Colonial Modernities (co-edited with Saurabh Dube (New Delhi: Social Science Press, 2006). Reviews in Economic and Political Weekly and The Book Review.
    • Critical Conjunctions: Foundations of Colony and Formations of Modernity(co-edited with Saurabh Dube and Edgardo Lander). Special edition of Nepantla: Views from South, 3, 2 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002).

    In Process

    • Culturas polítícas y políticas culturales: escenarios de Asia, Africa, Europa y América (manuscript of a book edited with Saurabh Dube to be by El Colegio de México in 2017.)


    • Bengali, English, Spanish, German, Hindi, Odia, and Sanskrit. All these languages have been variously used in research, writing, and teaching. Have received training in teaching German, and learnt Sanskrit for seven years. For the past 15 years used Spanish consistently as medium of everyday and academic interaction.


    Over the past year I have been exploring the many meanings of food and nurture for women in the context of the nationalist project of the redefinition of the “private” through a configuration of the “new woman”, particularly in Bengal over the late nineteenth century early-twentieth century. By means of a close reading of domestic manuals and early cookbooks in Bengali written by men and women and food columns in journal edited by women, I unpack three overlapping discourses that used the domestic as its site: elite cultural discourse of nascent nationalism that configured a new woman as the repository of India’s cultural difference from the West; a discourse of a nuclear family as opposed to an extended one evoked in domestic manuals and literature of the time produced by men, and a special significance accorded to food, health and nutrition as the basis of a healthy family.

    My long standing passion for and interest in food, cooking and cuisine has found expression in a special number of the journal Estudios de Asia y Africa (in Spanish) that I edited on invitation and was published in September 2015. A collection of important scholarship on food and society in Asia and Africa, a reworked and enlarged version of this volume in English, Cooking Cultures: Convergent Histories of Food and Feeling, will soon be published Cambridge University Press.

    This work was preceded by a detailed analysis of the history of India between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries.  The result was a 500 -page book, A History of Modern India, commissioned and published by Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, Delhi, New York) in 2015. The book offers an updated and open history of ‘modern’ India where facts and the analysis intertwine to provide an integrated narrative of different and varied tales. In other words, it provides an interpretive history of modern India without closure. It further explores the ‘state of the art’ of historiographical debates on modern India and engages with cutting-edge research on the subject.

    An offshoot of my work on gender and nation has been an examination of the elite nationalist discourse of India and Mexico with a view to understanding the centrality of the ‘woman’ in both projects. The analysis brings together the Empire and the colony within the same frame of reference. This work has been published as a book chapter in an important series edited by El Colegio de Mexico under the aegis of the bicentenary of Mexican independence in 2010 and in a journal of Simon Bolivar Andean University, Quito, Ecuador.

    For over a decade now, I have worked on questions of culture, power, and religion in Indian society.  The entanglement between popular religion and the law has emerged as the single most important element of this work. Exploration of the articulations of religion by the members of a subordinate, radical, religious order of Orissa (Odisha), eastern India, has further led to critical analyses of notions of time and history and their myriad manifestations in quotidian arenas. In addition to several journal articles and book chapters the results of this work have been published as Religion, Law, and Power: Tales of Time in Eastern India 1860-2000 (Anthem Press, London, 2007).

    The intricate interactions and mutual imbrications between religion, law, and power – especially in the governance of religious institutions by the colonial and independent Indian state – have been discussed in Divine Affairs: Religion, Pilgrimage, and the State in Colonial and Postcolonial India (Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, 2001) and my more recent book in Spanish titled Fronteras del Hinduismo: El Esatdo y la Fe en la India Moderna (El Colegio de México, Mexico DF, 2007).

    The intersection of religion and politics and its implication for democracy and secularism in contemporary India have been analyzed in my edited volume, Caste in History, in the Themes in Indian History series of Oxford University Press (2007). This has drawn the attention of sociologists and I have been invited to contribute an article on “Caste, Race and Difference” to a special number of Current Sociology.


    Finally, I have just begun work on two themes related to Odisha: (a) the history of the Odia language and the construction of regional identity turning around vernacular cultures, the breaks and continuities with the classical Sanskrit tradition, notions of the early and the modern, and the interplay between the oral/narrative and literary tradition, as well as the blending of the religious and the literary in articulations of Odianess. An early statement f this work has been published as a lead article in Purba Darshan: A Journal of Asiam Studies. (b) the gradual dislodging of the devi-worship (worship of goddesses) from centres of ritual power in Odisha on account of the dominance of Vaishnavism and its implications for religion, gender and power.


    • 2016   Awarded Distinguished Professorship (categoria S II), El Colegio de México, México.
    • 2015    Member of the International Advisory Board of Asia Centre, University of Sussex, United Kingdom.
    • 2014   Editor, series “Hindusim”, De Gruyter Open.
    • 2014 Renewal National Researcher Level 3, National Scheme of Researchers (SNI), CONACYT, Mexico.
    • 2012   Associate Editor, “Theology and Religion”, De Gruyter Open.
    • 2009 National Researcher Level 3, National Scheme of Researchers (SNI), CONACYT, Mexico.
    • 2005 National Researcher Level 2, National Scheme of Researchers (SNI), CONACYT, Mexico.
    • 2002 National Researcher Level 1, National Scheme of Researchers (SNI), CONACYT, Mexico.
    • 2007 Awarded Professorship (categoria S, Superior), El Colegio de México, Mexico.
    • “Perfíl deseable” (desired profile for academics), Ministry of Education, Mexico, renewed continually every 3 years.
    • 2000 Cátedra Patrimonial de Excelencia (Category of Excellence) Level II, appointment-award of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), Mexico.
    • 1991 DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Research Award, Germany.
    • 1988 Indian Council for Social Science Research Doctoral Fellowship Award, India.
    • 1979 National Scholarship in Humanities, Board of Secondary Education, India.