Professor Gyan Prakash, an Indian-American professor at New Jersey’s Princeton University will lead six scholars from around the world in a program focusing on “The Culture and Politics of Resentment.”
The Fung Global Fellows Program, administered by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, brings together international research scholars from the social sciences and humanities around a common topic. For the 2017-18 academic year, the scholars will work on “The Culture and Politics of Resentment.”
“Resentment is a powerful emotion for expressing culture and politics,” Prakash said. “Experiences and memories of humiliation, oppression and marginalization have stimulated emotions of resentment, and produced compelling demands for political inclusion and justice around the world. Alternatively, rage against what is seen as the ‘tyranny of the minority,’ inequality, the corruption and aloofness of elites, the ‘foreign,’ and the illegitimate have generated powerful populist upsurges against the perceived enemies of a homogeneous body of ‘the people.’
“The goal for our new cohort will be to explore the full range of phenomena involved in the culture and politics of resentment, the conditions that produce such sentiments, and the projects they advance,” he said.
“Given that the rise of populist politics that relies on a powerful sense of resentment has important implications for democracy across the world, our idea is to explore it from a historical perspective and from different disciplinary points of view,” Prakash explained. He will hold a series of seminars, lectures, and conferences on the topic during the year.
The program is funded by a portion of a $10 million gift from Princeton alumnus William Fung of Hong Kong that is designed to increase substantially the University’s engagement with scholars around the world and inspire ideas that transcend borders.
The first group of fellows came together around the theme of “Languages and Authority” — an examination of how languages interact with political, social, economic and cultural authority. The second cohort focused on “Global Diffusion,” an examination of how certain policies, specific modes of social categorization, and cultural templates spread to nations around the globe while others never catch on. In the program’s third year, fellows focused on “Ethnic Politics and Identities” — the causes, narrative modalities and consequences of the politicization of ethnic, racial and national divides from a comparative perspective. The cohort completing the current academic year is focused on “International Society — Institutions and Actors in Global Governance.” The scholars are working on examining the emergence, functioning and effects of international organizations and transnational associations of all types from a cultural, historical, political, sociological or other perspective.
Prakash specializes in the history of modern India. His book “Mumbai Fables” (Princeton University Press and Harper Collins, India), was adapted for the film, “Bombay Velvet”, released in 2015, for which he wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay. His general field of research and teaching interests concerns urban modernity, the colonial genealogies of modernity, and problems of postcolonial thought and politics. He advises graduate students on modern South Asian history, colonialism and postcolonial theory, urban history, global history, and history of science.
He is the author of several books including “Bonded Histories: Genealogies of Labor Servitude in Colonial India” (1990), and “Another Reason: Science and the Imagination of Modern India” (1999), and has co-authored a book on world history, “Worlds Together, Worlds Apart” (2002). He has also produced an edited volume, “Noir Urbanisms: Dystopic Images of the Modern City,” and a co-edited volume, “Utopia/Dystopia: Historical Conditions of Possibility” which were published by Princeton University Press in Fall 2010. “The Tower of Silence”, a book based on a 1927 detective novel manuscript that he discovered and edited, was published in 2013.