Modern South Asian Studies seminar MT20: Week 2: Pandemic as event: thinking modern Indian society through a crisis

Conveners: Imre Bangha, Nayanika Mathur, Polly O'Hanlon, and Kate Sullivan de Estrada

Speaker: Professor Dilip Menon (Witwatersrand)

Pre-registration required. Please visit to book either for this seminar or the whole series.



Conjunctures and crises reveal the fault lines of a society. Covid 19 and the resultant lockdown in India have brought back memories of the devastation wrought by the flu epidemic of 1918 and the political crackdown by the colonial government. There has been a great abandonment of labour and the poor by the present government as much as an emerging compact between state and capital to restructure industrial relations to kickstart production once the lockdown is over. This moment gives us an occasion to reflect on the hardening contours of politics and society.


Dilip M Menon is the Mellon Chair in Indian Studies at the University of Witwatersrand. He is a historian of South Asia who is currently engaged with a project on oceanic histories abs knowledge from the global south. His recent publications include the edited volumes Capitalisms: towards a global history (Oxford 2020) and Changing Theory: Concepts from the global south (Routledge, 2021)