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Book prize adds to growing recognition of CISA faculty
Akhil Gupta, professor of anthropology and director, UCLA Center for India and South Asia. (Photo: Peggy McInerny/UCLA.)

Book prize adds to growing recognition of CISA faculty

Professor of Anthropology Akhil Gupta has won the Coomaraswamy Book Prize for 2014, marking yet another honor for the distinguished faculty of the UCLA Center for India and South Asia.

Coming on the heels of Nile Green’s Coomaraswamy Book Prize and Sanjay Subrahmanyam’s Infosys Prize, Gupta's award makes the UCLA Center for India and South Asia one of the most highly visible centers for South Asian Studies in the U.S.


International Institute, February 3, 2014 — Akhil Gupta, director of the UCLA Center for India and South Asia (CISA) and professor of anthropology, has been awarded the Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize for 2014 for his book, Red Tape: Bureaucracy, Structural Violence and Poverty in India (Duke, 2012).

Awarded by the South Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), the Coomaraswamy Prize honors distinguished scholarship in South Asian studies that “either promises to define or redefine” our understanding of an entire subject area. It is the most important award for a book about South Asia in the social sciences and humanities bestowed by the AAS, the leading U.S. professional organization for the study of Asia.

The prize, which includes a cash award and an AAS citation, will be presented at the association’s annual conference in Philadelphia on March 28, 2014.

“I am delighted to have been awarded the Coomaraswamy Book Prize for 2014 — it is a real honor to be recognized by my peers in the field,” said Akhil Gupta. “I’m even more delighted to note that this prize, coming on the heels of Nile Green’s award in 2013 and Sanjay Subrahmanyam’s Infosys Prize, makes the UCLA Center for India and South Asia one of the most highly visible centers for South Asian Studies in the United States.”

As his remark indicates, Gupta’s award marks the second time that an associated faculty member of the Center for India and South Asia has won the prize. UCLA Professor of History Nile Green, who also directs the UCLA Program on Central Asia, was awarded the Coomaraswamy Book Prize in 2013 for his publication, Bombay Islam: The Religious Economy of the West Indian Ocean, 1840–1915 (Cambridge, 2011). Green’s work also received the Albert Hourani Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association in 2011.

 


UCLA Professor of History Nile Green. (Photo: UCLA.)

The ASA citation for Bombay Islam describes the book as follows:

 

Green’s new and innovative research draws on long-neglected manuscript, newspaper, art and advertising sources in Persian, Arabic and Urdu to demonstrate, among other things, that reform was much less of an influence in “industrializing oceanic India” in the 19th century than in the hitherto more-studied north. He shows that far from being resistant to change, customary Islamic figures skillfully used the techniques of Christian missionaries, commerce and print capitalism to effectively compete against their religious rivals. Green masterfully traces their efforts and the “religious economy” of Bombay Islam across the Indian Ocean, exploring its links to Africa, Iran and elsewhere. The book Bombay Islam: The Religious Economy of the West Indian Ocean, 1840-1915 is a singularly important contribution to the scholarly literature on the histories of India, the Indian Ocean region and Islam.

 


UCLA Distinguished Professor of History Sanjay Subrahmanyam. (Photo: UCLA.)

The work of yet another CISA associated faculty member was also recognized in 2013. UCLA Distinguished Professor of History Sanjay Subrahmanyam, who holds the Navin and Pratima Doshi Endowed Chair in Pre-Modern Indian History and was the first director of CISA, won the prestigious Infosys Prize for 2012. Awarded by the Infosys Science Foundation of Bangalore, India in six categories, the prize seeks to enhance the prestige of scientific research in India with an eye toward encouraging young Indians to pursue research careers.

Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former Prime Minister of Norway, awarded the prize to Professor Subrahmanyam in New Delhi on January 3, 2013. It was the first year that the prize was given in the humanities category, meaning Profesoor Subrahmanyam received the inaugural award in history. “His award is a matter of great pride for the South Asian community at UCLA,” remarked Gupta. “Please join me in congratulating Professor Subrahmanyam for this award.”

Our congratulations to Professors Gupta, Green and Subrahmanyam of CISA!

Don’t miss the upcoming CISA event, an interactive discussion with world-renowned activist Medha Patkar, on Sunday, February 9, at the UCLA Broad Art Center at 3 pm.