David Ludden

Professor of History; Chair, Department of History

University of Pennsylvania, PhD 1978

Office Address: 

King Juan Carlos Center, Room 707



Personal Homepage: 


Field of Study: 

South Asia

Research Interests: 

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

Curriculum Vitae


David Ludden is Professor of History at New York University. In 1968, he spent a year as a public health intern in a village near Chennai. He then studied Tamil literature and published translations of Tamil poetry, before shifting to studies of economic and social history, focusing first on the Indian peninsula and then on Bangladesh and northeast India. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978, and he served on the Penn faculty from 1981 until 2007, before moving to NYU. He has chaired the Penn Department of South Asian Studies, the NYU Department of History, and South Asia programs at the Social Science Research Council and the Fulbright Senior Scholars program. In 2002, he served as President of the Association for Asian Studies. His publications include four edited volumes, three monographs, and dozens of academic articles and chapters. His current work is slowly adding up to a set of books and internet resources covering very long-term histories of empire, capitalism, globalization, and the urbanization of agrarian environments in Asia.


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

Selected Works:



India and South Asia: A Short History. Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2013. translated and published in German and Italian.



India and South Asia: A Short History. Oxford: OneWorld Publishers, 2002. translated and published in German and Italian.



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 10/06/2016