Narendra Subramanian is Associate Professor of Political Science at McGill University.  He studies the politics of nationalism, ethnicity, religion, gender and race, primarily in India. Subramanian’s work explores the role of identity politics in political mobilization, electoral competition, public culture, and public policy; the functioning of democracies amidst social and economic inequalities with long histories; and different ways in which policy-makers and citizens attempt to resolve the tensions between official secularism and the significant presence of religion in public life. His first book, Ethnicity and Populist Mobilization:  Political Parties, Citizens and Democracy in South India (Oxford University Press, 1999), explored how mobilization behind language and caste banners strengthened democracy in parts of India.  Stanford University Press will soon publish his second book, Nation and Family: Personal Law, Cultural Pluralism, and Gendered Citizenship in India, which examines the changes in the personal laws specific to religious group in postcolonial India.  His main current book project, From Bondage to Citizenship: The Enfranchisement and Empowerment of Dalits and African Americans, compares the changes in caste relations in India and race relations in the United States since the lower castes and African-Americans gained political rights on a sustained basis.  It focuses on two regions of particularly high ascriptive inequalities and, until recently, agrarian bondage – the Kaveri delta in southern India and the Mississippi delta in the southern United States.

Subramanian received his B.A. in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Research Interests:

  • Comparative Politics
  • Identity Politics (Ethnicity, Nationalism, Religion, Gender, Race)
  • State-Formation, Citizenship and Law
  • Political Parties and Social Movements
  • Institutions, Public Culture and Democracy
  • Political Rights and Socio-Economic Inequality
  • South Asian Politics and Society

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