A Taste for Race: Lecture by Projit Bihari Mukharji

Projit Bihari Mukharji delivered a lecture on ‘A Taste for Race: Sense, Science and Caste in Mid-Twentieth Century India’. It was chaired by Priyadarshini Vijaisri.


The lecture will describe the mid- twentieth century transformation of colonial raciology into “biometric nationalism” by tracing the evolution of contemporary genomic research from earlier traditions of physical anthropology. It will show how the earlier emphasis on visible racial markers such as skin color and nasal shape were eclipsed by a set of elusive markers, such as the sense of taste, which required much more technological mediation. Bringing together history of science and sensory history, the lecture will therefore map the postcolonial histories of caste and tribe as technocratic objects.

Projit Bihari Mukharji is an Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He was educated at Presidency College, Calcutta, JNU, New Delhi and SOAS, London. His books include Nationalizing the Body (2009) and Doctoring Traditions (2016). His forthcoming book is titled Brown Skins, White Coats: Race Science in India, 1920-66

Priyadarshini Vijaisri is Associate Professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021, 5.30 pm, Zoom https://bit.ly/2ZMb0K2