David Ludden

Professor of History

University of Pennsylvania, PhD 1978

Office Address: 

King Juan Carlos Center, Room 423



Personal Homepage: 


Field of Study: 

South Asia

Areas of Research/Interest: 

South Asia; Middle East; East Asia; World History; Globalization; Agrarian History; Economic Development

Curriculum Vitae


David Ludden is Professor of Political Economy and Globalization and Chair of the Department of History at New York University. He first worked in South Asia in 1968, as a public health intern, and in graduate school he moved into Tamil literature and development studies, doing translations of ancient Tamil poetry and research in agrarian economic and social history. In 1978, he received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Pennsylvania, where he served on the faculty from 1981 until 2007. He was chair of South Asia programs at Penn, at the Social Science Research Council, and at the Fulbright Senior Scholars program (CIES). In 2002, he served as President of the Association for Asian Studies. His research concerns histories of development and globalization. Until 1993, he focused on southern India. Then he moved his work into Bangladesh and northeast India. His publications include four edited volumes, three monographs, and over 50 academic articles and chapters, whose overarching theme is the comparative history of capitalism, particularly in agrarian settings and as it concerns inequality, poverty, conflict, and social movements. His current writing is slowly adding up to a book that is now called History Inside Globalization: Spatial Power and Inequity in Asia, which focuses on the reproduction and transformation of imperial forms of knowledge, power, authority, and inequity inside the world of nations under globalization. Since 2007, he has launched new programs to foster interdisciplinary research on South Asia and globalization at NYU. He has organized a network of faculty collaboration called SouthAsia@NYU, an annual Global South Asia Conference (since 2008), The Global Café and Global Seminar Dissertation Workshops, all anchored by the Institute for Public Knowledge, where he is a Senior Fellow.


Fulbright Research Fellowship (2009), John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fund (2003), American Council of Learned Societies (2002), National Endowment for the Humanities (1990).

Selected Works:


ludden2.gifIndia and South Asia: A Short History. Oxford: OneWorld Publishers, 2002. translated and published in German and Italian. (2012 2nd Edition Forthcoming)






AnAgrarianHistoryofSouthAsia.jpgAn Agrarian History of South Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.  (The New  Cambridge History of India, IV. 4. General Editor: Gordon Johnson). (digital edition online)






EarlyCapitalismandLocalHistory.jpgPeasant History in South India. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985. Paperback edition, Delhi: Oxford University Press: 1990, reprinted 1993, 1995, 1997. Second paperback edition published with new preface and additional Bibliography, renamed: Early Capitalism and Local History in South India, 2005. 
     * ACLS History E-Book. http://ets.umdl.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=acls;;idno=heb02438

Edited Volumes:

Capitalism in Asia. Ann Arbor: Association for Asian Studies  

Reading Subaltern Studies: Critical Histories, Contested Meanings, and the Globalisation of South Asia. New Delhi: Permanent Black Publishers and London: Anthem Press.

Contesting the Nation: Religion, Community, and the Politics of Democracy in India. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Paperback edition, Making India Hindu: Community, Conflict, and the Politics of Democracy, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996. Second edition. New Preface. Additional Bibliography. Oxford University Press, Delhi.

Agricultural Production and Indian History. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. 2005. Second paperback edition with new Preface and additional Bibliography published as Agricultural Production and South Asian History. Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2005.


The Kuruntokai: An Anthology of Classical Tamil Love Poetry in Translation (with M.Shanmugam  Pillai), Koodal Publishers, Madurai, 1976.



“The Politics of Independence in Bangladesh,” Economic and Political Weekly, August 27,  46, 35, 79-85. http://epw.in/epw/uploads/articles/16480.pdf 

“The process of empire: frontiers and borderlands,” in Tributary Empires in Global History, edited by Peter Fibiger Bang and CA Bayly. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, pp.132-150. https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B_oaVpE8bamTNmMyZWQ1NzQtNTQ0MS00ZWI1LWEyNTAtNTlkZjhhMjhiNjU5&hl=en 

“Spatial Inequity and National Territory: Remapping 1905 in Bengal and Assam,” Modern Asian Studies, 2011, 1-43.  http://www.rairo-ita.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8310094 


“Investing in nature around Sylhet: An Excursion into Geographical History,” in Contested Grounds: Essays on Nature, Culture and Power, edited by Amita Baviskar. Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 77-105. Reprinted in Rangarajan, Mahesh and K. Sivaramakrishnan. India's Environmental History: Colonialism, Modernity, and the Nation. A Reader. Delhi: Permanent Black, 2012. pp. 64-94.  


“History and the Inequality Predicament,” Wertheim Lecture, University of Amsterdam, School of Social Science Research, published in full online at http://www.iias.nl/asia/wertheim/ and excerpted in the International Institute for Asian Studies Newsletter, 28, Autumn, 28-9. 

“A useable past for a post-national present: Governance and development in South Asia,” in Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Golden Jubilee Volume (1956-2006), 50, 1-2, 259-292.  

“Development Regimes in South Asia: History and the Development Conundrum,” Economic and Political Weekly, 40, 37, 10 Sept., 4042-51; shortened version reprinted in Perspectives on Modern South Asia: A Reader in Culture, History, and Representation, edited by Kamala Visweswaran, Blackwell, Chichester, 2011, pp. 224-238. 

“Where is Assam?” HIMALSouthAsia, November 2005, http://www.himalmag.com/2005/november/cover_story_3.html 

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Updated on 09/05/2013