A. R. Venkatachalapathy

A. R. Venkatachalapathy is a Professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai, and is a historian and Tamil writer.

A. R. Venkatachalapathy is a Professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai, and is a historian and Tamil writer.

Chalapathy took his PhD in History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, after acquiring his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Madras and Madurai-Kamaraj Universities. He has taught at Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Tirunelveli, the University of Madras, the University of Chicago, and the National University of Singapore, and has held fellowships in Paris, Cambridge, and Harvard. He held the ICCR Chair in Indian Studies at the National University of Singapore (2011–12).

He has published widely on the social, cultural and intellectual history of colonial and postcolonial Tamilnadu. His research interests converge at the intersection of history and literature, and his research focuses on the early history of nationalism, the social history of the Dravidian movement, caste politics, politics of language, and literary cultures.

An important dimension of his work is an attempt to create a critical social science discourse in Tamil. Towards this end he has written/edited over 20 books in Tamil combining scholarly discipline with literary flair.

His books published in English include The Province of the Book: Scholars, Scribes, and Scribblers in Colonial Tamilnadu; In Those Days There Was No Coffee: Writings in Cultural History; (ed.), Chennai, Not Madras, and (ed.), In the Tracks of the Mahatma: The Making of a Documentary.

He is also a translator and his translations into English include Sundara Ramaswamy’s J.J.: Some Jottings. He has edited Love Stands Alone: Selections from Tamil Sangam Poetry, and Red Lilies and Frightened Birds: ‘Muttollayiram’ for the Penguin Black Classics.

He is a recipient of the V.K.R.V. Rao Prize (2007).

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