Manu Bhagavan is a specialist on modern India, focusing on the twentieth-century late-colonial and post-colonial periods, with particular interests in human rights, (inter)nationalism, and questions of sovereignty. He is Professor of History and Human Rights at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, the City University of New York, where at the undergraduate level he lectures on modern world history and on modern South Asian history, and offers seminars on Gandhi, modern India, and violence and ethnic conflict. His graduate classes focus on human rights and internationalism.
Manu’s most recent book is the critically acclaimed The Peacemakers / India and the Quest for One World, published by HarperCollins India in 2012 and updated and expanded by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013. Set against the backdrop of World War II, Indian independence and decolonization, and the Cold War, this “splendid…stunning…hugely engrossing” first-of-its-kind international history, based on seven years of research in twenty archives on three continents, tells the story of India’s quest to build consensus around the framework of “human rights,” to bridge the divisions between East and West, between capitalist and communist, and to create “one world” free of empire, poverty, exploitation, and war.
Manu’s other major publications, all with Oxford University Press, include Sovereign Spheres (2003), Heterotopias (editor, 2010), and Speaking Truth to Power and Claiming Power from Below (co-edited with Anne Feldhaus, 2009, with multiple reprints). He has also published articles in The Journal of Asian Studies, Modern Asian Studies, The Indian Economic and Social History Review, and the Economic and Political Weekly, among other places. He reviews books for numerous publications and has maintained a blog on CNN-IBN. He has served as the President of the Society for Advancing the History of South Asia, as the Chair of the Human Rights Program at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, and as an undergraduate advisor in the Hunter History Department. He is the recipient of a 2006 fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.
Manu’s March 2016 Quartz essay on the rise of global authoritarianism went viral internationally, received social media attention from the likes of Michiko Kakutani and Jonathan Capehart, and was translated into Czech (partially) and German, the latter for the lead, cover article of that year’s May issue of the Berliner Republik magazine. A compilation of all of his observations on authoritarian populism may be found here.
Manu regularly comments in the media about matters related to India, foreign relations, human rights, and the United Nations. He has written for, been interviewed by, or appeared on: The New York Times, Washington Post, WNYC & WHYY radio, CNBC, National Public Radio (NPR), Rajya Sabha Television (India), CNN-IBN, BBC World Radio, Fusion, Press TV, World Citizen Radio, INI9, HuffPost Live, and Al Jazeera English. Manu lives in New York.
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