Ananya Vajpeyi

Associate Professor

On sabbatical 2019-20.

Visiting Fellow, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge, October 2019 to December 2020.

Ananya Vajpeyi works at the intersection of intellectual history, political theory and critical philology. She is currently working on three different projects: (i) her next book, Sanskrit: A Political Biography, (ii) a social and legal history of caste categories in Western India from pre-colonial to modern times, and (iii) her long-term research on the life of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (1891-1956).

Her first book Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India was named book of the year 2012 by the Guardian and the New Republic. It received the 41st Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize from Harvard University Press, the Tata First Book Award for Non-Fiction (2013), and the Crossword Award for Non-Fiction (2013).

Vajpeyi was educated at Lady Shri Ram College for Women (BA), Jawaharlal Nehru University (MA), the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar (MPhil), and the University of Chicago (PhD).

She has taught at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, in the history department at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore. Most recently she was a Visiting Professor in South Asian and North African Studies at the University of Venice, Ca' Foscari (Spring 2014).

Vajpeyi has held post-doctoral fellowships at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, JNU and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. She has been an IDRC visiting fellow at CSDS, a senior fellow with the American Institute of Indian Studies, and a Kluge Fellow at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, Washington DC in 2013 and 2014. She was a Global Ethics Fellow with the Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs, 2014-2017.

Vajpeyi writes regularly for The Hindu newspaper and contributes often to Foreign Affairs and World Policy Journal. She guest-edited an issue of Seminar magazine annually, 2010-17. She is also a frequent contributor to Scroll.inIndian Cultural Forum, and RESET: Dialogue on Civilizations.

Ananya Vajpeyi has been the Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow 2017-18 at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at Cambridge University. She has co-edited Ashis Nandy: A Life in Dissent with Ramin Jahanbegloo, published by Oxford University Press in April 2018.

Her chapter, "The Politics of Knowledge, Here and Now: A Conversation with Ashis Nandy" appears in D. Venkat Rao Ed., Critical Humanities from India: Contexts, Issues, Futures, published by Routledge India in Spring 2018. Most recently, she has published two new essays in the India Quarterly (July-September, 2019) and Marg: A Magazine of the Arts (December 2019).

Her new co-edited volume, Minorities and Populism: Critical Perspectives from South Asia and Europe is published by Springer in May 2020.

She is currently the Editor (2019-21) of Aroop: A Journal of Arts and Ideas, published annually by the Raza Foundation.

Email: vajpeyi(at)

List of Publications