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Faculty

Vinay Lal


PROFESSOR


Contact Information

Email    VLAL@HISTORY.UCLA.EDU
Office  5240 Bunche Hall
Phone  310-825-8276
Vinay Lal was born in Delhi and raised in India, Indonesia, Japan, and the United States.

He studied literature, history, and philosophy as an undergraduate, and earned his B.A. from the Humanities Center at Johns Hopkins University in 1982. He received a M.A. from the same institution, also in 1982, for a thesis on Emerson and Indian Philosophy. He then studied film in Australia and India on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship before commencing his graduate studies at the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, where he was awarded his Ph.D. with Distinction in 1992. His dissertation, "Committees of Inquiry and Discourses of 'Law and Order' in Twentieth-Century British India", received the Marc Galler Award for the best dissertation in the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago. He was a William R. Kenan Fellow, Society of Fellows in the Humanities, and Lecturer in History, at Columbia University in 1992-93.

Vinay joined the history faculty at UCLA in Fall 1993, and has since held several fellowships, including a Senior Fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers, and a fellowship from the Society for the Promotion of Science/Japan Area Studies Center at the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka. He was elected a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science in February 2000.

Vinay teaches a broad range of courses in Indian history, comparative colonial histories, subaltern history and Indian historiography, as well as graduate level seminars on the contemporary politics of knowledge, postcolonial theory, and the politics of culture. He has designed and taught a cycle of upper-division undergraduate lecture courses on British India, Contemporary South Asia, the Indian Diaspora, and the Moral and Political Thought of Mohandas Gandhi. Seminars in Indian history cover such subjects as the Politics of Religion and Ethnicity in South Asia; Hindu-Muslim Encounters in South Asia; "The Woman Question" in Colonial India; The Life of Krishna in Indian Art, History, and Culture; History and the Novel; the Partition of India; Violence in Contemporary Indian Society; and History and Popular Cinema.

Vinay has written regularly on a wide variety of subjects for periodicals in the US, India, and Britain. Among other subjects, he has written on various aspects of the political and legal history of colonial India, sexuality in modern India, the popular Hindi film, the Indian diaspora, Indian documentaries, the politics and history of history, dissent in the Gandhian mode, contemporary American politics, the politics of culture, genocide, and the global politics of knowledge systems. His dozen books reflect a similarly broad range of intellectual, political and research interests.

Vinay was formally associated as a Visiting Fellow in the summers of 1993 and 1994 with the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and the Delhi-based Committee for Cultural Choices and Global Futures. In more recent years, he has been associated since its inception with Multiversity, a group of scholars, intellectuals and activists that meets every other year in Penang, Malaysia, with the objective of engaging in a radical decolonization of the knowledge systems of the Western academy. He is also a founding member of the Backwaters Collective on Metaphysics and Politics, which meets annually in Kerala. He shares the sentiments of the scholars, public intellectuals, and activists who are engaged in all these enterprises, which may be described as motivated by "an intellectual concern for the ecology of plural knowledge, a normative concern with cultural survival, and a potential concern with the search for humane futures for the victims of history."

Between 2007 and 2012, Vinay divided his time between Delhi and Los Angeles. He served as University of California's Director of the Education Abroad Program in India for 18 months, and while on leave from UCLA in 2010-11 he served as Professor of History at the University of Delhi.

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Degrees

Ph.D. with Distinction, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago, 1992
M.A., The Humanities Center, Johns Hopkins University, 1982 (degree conferred 1983)
B.A. The Humanities Center (with concentration in literature, history, and philosophy), Johns Hopkins University, 1982

Selected Publications

Empire of Knowledge: Culture and Plurality in the Global Economy. London: Pluto Press, 2002; Indian edition with new material: Delhi: Sage Publications/Vistaar, 2005; Urdu translation, Mashal Books, Lahore, 2008.

Of Cricket, Guinness and Gandhi: Essays on Indian History and Culture. Calcutta: Seagull Books, 2003; paperback, Delhi: Viking Penguin, 2005.

The History of History: Politics and Scholarship in Modern India. Delhi: Oxford UP, 2003; paperback edition with new postscript, Oxford 2005; 2nd reprint, 2007; 5th impression, 2010.

Introducing Hinduism (illustrated by Borin van Loon). London: Icon Books, 2005; Spanish translation published as Hinduismo Para Todos (Barcelona, 2006); Korean translation published in 2006; Finnish translation published in 2007.

The Other Indians: Politics and Culture of South Asians in America. Los Angeles: Asian American Studies Center Press, University of California (UCLA), 2007; Delhi: HarperCollins, 2008.

(Edited) Dissenting Knowledges, Open Futures: The Multiple Selves and Strange Destinations of Ashis Nandy. Delhi: Oxford UP, 2000; 2nd ed. with additional preface, Oxford University Press, 2013.

South Asian Cultural Studies: A Bibliography. Delhi: Manohar, 1996.

The Future of Knowledge and Culture: A Dictionary for the Twenty-first Century, co-edited with Ashis Nandy, Delhi: Viking Penguin, 2005; Kannada translation, 2007.

Fingerprinting Popular Culture: The Mythic and the Iconic in Indian Cinema, co-edited with Ashis Nandy. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006; Oxford India Paperback, 2007).

Political Hinduism: The Religious Imagination in Public Spheres. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Deewaar: The Footpath, the City, and the Angry Young Man. Delhi: HarperCollins, 2011.

The Oxford Anthology of the Modern Indian City: The City in Its Plenitude. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2013.

The Oxford Anthology of the Modern Indian City: Making and Unmaking the City: Culture, Politics, and Life Forms. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Graduate Students

Mitch Numark (Ph.D., 2005).
Ritika Prasad (Ph.D, 2009).
Anindita Nag (Ph.D., 2010).

Current Courses by Term

2016 Winter Quarter

Introduction to Asian Civilizations: History of India

Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars

Student Research Program

Seminar: South Asia

Teaching Apprentice Practicum

2016 Spring Quarter

Gandhi and Making of Modern India

Seminar: South Asia

Previous Courses by Term

2015 Spring Quarter

Capstone Seminar: History -- Historical Theory

Topics in History: Theory of History

2014 Fall Quarter

Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars

Cultural and Political History of Contemporary South Asia

Capstone Seminar: History -- India

Topics in History: India

2014 Spring Quarter

Introduction to Asian Civilizations: History of India

Capstone Seminar: History -- India

Topics in History: India

2013 Fall Quarter

Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars

Introduction to Historical Practice: Variable Topics in Indian History

History of British India I

2013 Spring Quarter

Indian Identity in U.S. and Diaspora

Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars

Topics in History: India

Topics in History: Theory of History

2012 Fall Quarter

Cultural and Political History of Contemporary South Asia

Capstone Seminar: History -- India

Topics in History: India

2012 Spring Quarter

Special Topics in Contemporary Indian History

Capstone Seminar: History -- India

Topics in History: India

2012 Winter Quarter

Introduction to Asian Civilizations: History of India

Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars

Capstone Seminar: History -- India

Topics in History: India

2010 Winter Quarter

History of British India II

Seminar: South Asia

2009 Fall Quarter

Introduction to Asian Civilizations: History of India

Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars

Seminar: South Asia

2009 Spring Quarter

Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars

Cultural and Political History of Contemporary South Asia

Undergraduate Variable Topics Research Seminars: History -- India

Topics in History: India

2009 Winter Quarter

Special Topics in Contemporary Indian History

2007 Spring Quarter

Indian Identity in the U.S. and Diaspora

Undergraduate Variable Topics Seminars: India

Topics in History: India

2007 Winter Quarter

Introduction to Asian Civilizations: History of India

Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars

Undergraduate Variable Topics Seminars: World History

Topics in History: Theory of History

2006 Spring Quarter

History of British India II

Undergraduate Variable Topics Seminars: India

Topics in History: India

2006 Winter Quarter

Introduction to Asian Civilizations: History of India

Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars

Undergraduate Variable Topics Seminars: India

2005 Spring Quarter

Cultural and Political History of Contemporary South Asia

Seminar: South Asia

2005 Winter Quarter

Introduction to Asian Civilizations: History of India

Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars

Seminar: South Asia

2004 Spring Quarter

History of British India II

Undergraduate Seminar: India

2004 Winter Quarter

Introduction to Asian Civilizations: History of India

Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars

Undergraduate Seminar: India

Topics in History: India

2003 Spring Quarter

Cultural and Political History of Contemporary South Asia

Undergraduate Seminar: India

2003 Winter Quarter

Introduction to Asian Civilizations: History of India

Undergraduate Seminar: India

Topics in History: India

Fiat Lux Seminar

2002 Spring Quarter

Undergraduate Seminar

2002 Winter Quarter

Indian Identity in the U.S. and the Diaspora

2001 Fall Quarter

Introduction to Asian Civilizations: History of India

Undergraduate Seminar

Perspectives on September 11

2001 Winter Quarter

Special Topics in Contemporary Indian History

2000 Fall Quarter

Introduction to Asian Civilizations: History of India

Undergraduate Seminar

2000 Spring Quarter

Cultural and Political History of Contemporary South Asia

2000 Winter Quarter

Undergraduate Seminar

1999 Fall Quarter

Introduction to Asian Civilizations: History of India

Topics in History: India

1999 Winter Quarter

Indian Identity in the U.S. and the Diaspora

Undergraduate Seminar

1998 Fall Quarter

History of British India II

1998 Spring Quarter
1998 Winter Quarter

Previous Courses by Course

HIST 201Q
Topics in History: Theory of History

2015 Spring Quarter

2013 Spring Quarter

2007 Winter Quarter

HIST 191P
Capstone Seminar: History -- Historical Theory

2015 Spring Quarter

HIST 22
Contemporary World History, 1760 to Present

2015 Spring Quarter

HIST 19
Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars

2014 Fall Quarter

2013 Fall Quarter

2013 Spring Quarter

2012 Winter Quarter

2009 Fall Quarter

2009 Spring Quarter

2007 Winter Quarter

2006 Winter Quarter

2005 Winter Quarter

2004 Winter Quarter

HIST 191N
Capstone Seminar: History -- India

2014 Fall Quarter

2014 Spring Quarter

2012 Fall Quarter

2012 Spring Quarter

2012 Winter Quarter

HIST 201K
Topics in History: India

2014 Fall Quarter

2014 Spring Quarter

2013 Spring Quarter

2012 Fall Quarter

2012 Spring Quarter

2012 Winter Quarter

2009 Spring Quarter

2007 Spring Quarter

2006 Spring Quarter

2004 Winter Quarter

2003 Winter Quarter

1999 Fall Quarter

HIST 175A
Cultural and Political History of Contemporary South Asia

2014 Fall Quarter

2012 Fall Quarter

2009 Spring Quarter

2005 Spring Quarter

HIST 9A
Introduction to Asian Civilizations: History of India

2014 Spring Quarter

2012 Winter Quarter

2009 Fall Quarter

2007 Winter Quarter

2006 Winter Quarter

2005 Winter Quarter

2004 Winter Quarter

2003 Winter Quarter

2001 Fall Quarter

2000 Fall Quarter

1999 Fall Quarter

HIST 97N
Introduction to Historical Practice: Variable Topics in Indian History

2013 Fall Quarter

HIST 174B
History of British India I

2013 Fall Quarter

HIST M175B
Indian Identity in U.S. and Diaspora

2013 Spring Quarter

ASIA AM M172A
Indian Identity in U.S. and Diaspora

2013 Spring Quarter

HIST 175C
Special Topics in Contemporary Indian History

2012 Spring Quarter

2009 Winter Quarter

HIST 288B
Seminar: South Asia

2010 Winter Quarter

2005 Spring Quarter

HIST 174C
History of British India II

2010 Winter Quarter

2006 Spring Quarter

HIST 288A
Seminar: South Asia

2009 Fall Quarter

2005 Winter Quarter

HIST 191N
Undergraduate Variable Topics Research Seminars: History -- India

2009 Spring Quarter

HIST 191N
Undergraduate Variable Topics Seminars: India

2007 Spring Quarter

2006 Spring Quarter

2006 Winter Quarter

HIST M175B
Indian Identity in the U.S. and Diaspora

2007 Spring Quarter

ASIA AM M172
Indian Identity in the U.S. and Diaspora

2007 Spring Quarter

HIST 191O
Undergraduate Variable Topics Seminars: World History

2007 Winter Quarter

HIST 188C
History of British India II

2004 Spring Quarter

1998 Fall Quarter

HIST 197N
Undergraduate Seminar: India

2004 Spring Quarter

2004 Winter Quarter

2003 Spring Quarter

2003 Winter Quarter

HIST 189A
Cultural and Political History of Contemporary South Asia

2003 Spring Quarter

2000 Spring Quarter

HNRS 98
Fiat Lux Seminar

2003 Winter Quarter

HIST 197I
Undergraduate Seminar

2002 Spring Quarter

2000 Fall Quarter

1999 Winter Quarter

HIST M189B
Indian Identity in the U.S. and the Diaspora

2002 Winter Quarter

1999 Winter Quarter

HIST 197K
Undergraduate Seminar

2001 Fall Quarter

HNRS 98
Perspectives on September 11

2001 Fall Quarter

HIST 189C
Special Topics in Contemporary Indian History

2001 Winter Quarter

HIST 197T
Undergraduate Seminar

2000 Winter Quarter

ASIA AM M133
Indian Identity in the U.S. and the Diaspora

1999 Winter Quarter

HIST 197D

1998 Spring Quarter

HIST 189C

1998 Spring Quarter

HIST 201Q

1998 Spring Quarter

HIST 189A

1998 Winter Quarter