The Challenge of Contemporary History
To coincide with the publication of the third, revised, edition of India after Gandhi, Ramachandra Guha will speak on the challenges confronting a historian documenting the relatively recent past. Historians of India have traditionally only looked at events and processes prior to 15 August 1947, treating that as a sort of lakshman rekha they must not cross. Guha will narrate his own experiences in breaching this disciplinary taboo, by speaking of the primary sources available to the student of contemporary history, and the biases he or she must be aware of.
Ramachandra Guha is a historian and biographer who is currently a Distinguished University Professor at Krea University. He has previously taught at Stanford University, the Indian Institute of Science, and the London School of Economics. His books include a pioneering environmental history, The Unquiet Woods (University of California Press, 1989), an award-winning social history of cricket, A Corner of a Foreign Field (Picador, 2002), and a widely acclaimed history of his country, India after Gandhi (Macmillan/Ecco Press, 2007). He is also the author of a two-volume biography of Mahatma Gandhi (Gandhi Before India, 2014, and Gandhi: The Years that Changed the World, 2018, both published by Knopf), each of which was chosen as a book of the year by the New York Times. His most recent book is Rebels against the Raj (Knopf, 2022). His books and essays have been translated into more than twenty languages.
Guha’s awards include the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society of Environmental History, the Howard Milton Prize of the British Society for Sports History, the Sahitya Akademi Award, and the Fukuoka Prize for contributions to Asian studies. He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate in the humanities from Yale University.