Ananya Vajpeyi

Associate Professor

Ananya Vajpeyi works at the intersection of intellectual history, political theory and critical philology.

Ph.D. South Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago (2004).
M.Phil. University of Oxford; Rhodes Scholar, India and Exeter College (1994-96).
M.A. Jawaharlal Nehru University (1992-94).
B.A. (Hons). Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi (1989-92).

Prolegomena to the Study of People and Places in Violent India, with a preface by Pratap Bhanu Mehta (WISCOMP: Perspectives #26, 2007).
Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India, Harvard University Press (2012). Winner of the 41st Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Award (2011-12); the Tata First Book Prize -- Non-Fiction (2013); the Crossword Award -- Non-Fiction (2013).
Ashis Nandy: A Life in Dissent. Ramin Jahanbegloo and Ananya Vajpeyi, Ed. Oxford University Press (2018).
Minorities and Populism: Critical Perspectives from South Asia and Europe. Volker Kaul and Ananya Vajpeyi, Ed. Springer NL (2020).  
(Under Contract) Sanskrit: A Political Biography, Norton Press, NY and Harper Collins India (forthcoming 2024).
(Under Contract) The Śūdra in History: From Scripture to Segregation, OUP (Global).

She has been a Visiting Fellow (2019-20) and a Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow (2017-18) at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge; a Global Ethics Fellow with the Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs, New York (2014-2017); a Kluge Fellow at the John W. Kluge Centre, Library of Congress, Washington D.C. (2013-14); a Senior Fellow with the American Institute of Indian Studies, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (2012); and an IDRC Visiting Fellow at CSDS (2011-12). She has collaborated regularly since 2011 with RESET: Dialogue of Civilizations, based in Rome and Milan, Italy.

Prior to this, she was a WISCOMP Scholar of Peace with the Foundation for Universal Responsibility, New Delhi (2003-04); a Scholar in Residence at the Waag Society for Old and New Media, Amsterdam, NL (2004); a Visiting Fellow in the South Asia Program at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC (2004), a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, JNU (2005), and a junior fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (2005-06).

Ananya Vajpeyi has taught at the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru; School of International and Political Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University; University of Massachusetts in Boston (on the tenure track); and the University of Venice, Ca' Foscari, Venice, Italy.

Ananya Vajpeyi writes regularly for the Hindu, the Indian Cultural Forum, and She has published essays, opinion, reviews, reportage and fiction in Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Public Books, the Indian Express, the Calcutta Telegraph, the Economic Times, Caravan magazine, Civil Lines, Marg, Indian Quarterly, Open magazine, Outlook  magazine, India Today magazine, the New Republic, the New Statesman, Wasafiri, and numerous other publications in India and abroad. She has appeared on BBC Television and Radio, on PBS, on NPR, on CBC, on NDTV, on VOA, and on radio, TV and in newspapers in the US, France, Germany, Italy, Australia and Singapore.

She guest edited several issues of Seminar magazine, between 2010 and 2017.

She is the Editor of AROOP: Journal of Arts, Poetry and Ideas of the Raza Foundation, 2019-2021.

Her research interests and areas of teaching include the history and politics of caste and other forms of social inequality in India; the life and work of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar; the history of political thought in India and Europe; ethnic conflict, religious nationalism and forms of state power in the modern world; themes of love, violence, moral order, justice and transcendence in classical Sanskrit texts; the history of art and architecture in India, Italy and Turkey; American politics and culture; and classical music Indian as well as Western.

She has lived in Mexico, the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey and India.

Ananya Vajpeyi welcomes research assistants, interns and graduate students who wish to work with her on various research and writing projects at CSDS, or need training and supervision in the humanities and social sciences.

Email: vajpeyi(at)