Untouchable Pasts: Religion, Identity, and Power among a Central Indian Community, 1780–1950.
Ethnicity: "Indian. Stephen's College, B. Politics: "Broadly left: critical of all orthodoxies. Home— 15 Progreso, A, Sta. Catarina, Coyoacan, Mexico, DF Educator and author. University of Iowa , Iowa City, visiting professor of history, fall ; Cornell University , Ithaca, NY, visiting professor of history, spring and Editor of special issue on enchantments of modernity for South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume , number 4, , and coeditor of special issue on colonialism and modernity for Nepantla: Views from South, Volume 3, number 2, Member of editorial board, Estudios de Asia y Africa.
Born and raised in India, the son of anthropologists, Saurabh Dube credits the multifaceted culture and social structure of his homeland with influencing both his interests and his writing style.
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As Dube told CA: "My effort is not only to combine history and ethnography, but to interweave narrative techniques with theoretical enquiries, descriptive devices with conceptual considerations, so that the one probes the other. He reads widely, further influencing his own writing, delving into anything from academic materials to experimental fiction. Dube told CA that among his books, Stitches on Time: Colonial Textures and Postcolonial Tangles is his favorite: "It does the most to probe our typical ways of seeing and thinking, an effect that I hope my writings have.
Dube's Untouchable Pasts: Religion, Identity, and Power among a Central Indian Community, explores the origin of the Satnampanth sect, which was founded by a farm worker named Ghasidas among a group of untouchables in central India during the nineteenth century. The sect members, or Satnamis, were required to give up eating meat, drinking liquor, and worshipping Hindu gods.
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Dube follows the development of the sect beyond Ghasidas's death, examining the effect of outside influences, such as the introduction of British colonial rule to the region and how the gurus of Satnampanth worked to achieve a measure of self-sufficiency for the Satnamis. Lawrence A. Babb commented in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute that "Dube traces the sect's … history in a manner that never loses sight of the dense interconnectedness of economics, forms of authority ritual, and myth.
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Untouchable pasts: religion, identity and power among a central Indian community
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