Theses Doctoral

The Measure of Minority: Producing Unequal Citizens through Science and Politics, India 1870-1950

Ghoshal, Sayori

What were the knowledges, scientific evidence and terms of recognition that constituted the object minority in the Indian subcontinent? How was minority produced simultaneously as a generalizable identity and as a naturalized marker of the Muslim identity? Focusing on the late colonial and the early postcolonial period, this dissertation is an analysis of the emergence of minority in relation to the nation-state in India. In doing that, I examine how minority came to be constituted as much by scientific knowledge produced about non-dominant communities, as by the discourse around electoral politics and constitutional rights.

I demonstrate the possibilities and limitations in the way minority came to be constructed as a marginalized subject in governance and at the same time a difference from the national norm that threatened the ideal of the homogenous nation. Drawing on and contributing to scholarship in political history, history and sociology of science, and race and religious studies, this dissertation offers a reimagination of the relation between minority, nation and population.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Thesis Advisors
Chatterjee, Partha
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
December 1, 2021