Cover: The Caste of Merit: Engineering Education in India, from Harvard University PressCover: The Caste of Merit in HARDCOVER

The Caste of Merit

Engineering Education in India

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$52.00 • £41.95 • €47.00

ISBN 9780674987883

Publication Date: 12/03/2019

Text

384 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

World

How the language of “merit” makes caste privilege invisible in contemporary India.

Just as Americans least disadvantaged by racism are most likely to endorse their country as post‐racial, Indians who have benefited from their upper-caste affiliation rush to declare their country post‐caste. In The Caste of Merit, Ajantha Subramanian challenges this comfortable assumption by illuminating the controversial relationships among technical education, caste formation, and economic stratification in modern India. Through in-depth study of the elite Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)—widely seen as symbols of national promise—she reveals the continued workings of upper-caste privilege within the most modern institutions.

Caste has not disappeared in India but instead acquired a disturbing invisibility—at least when it comes to the privileged. Only the lower castes invoke their affiliation in the political arena, to claim resources from the state. The upper castes discard such claims as backward, embarrassing, and unfair to those who have earned their position through hard work and talent. Focusing on a long history of debates surrounding access to engineering education, Subramanian argues that such defenses of merit are themselves expressions of caste privilege. The case of the IITs shows how this ideal of meritocracy serves the reproduction of inequality, ensuring that social stratification remains endemic to contemporary democracies.

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America, by Beth Lew-Williams, from Harvard University Press

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Part II

In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’re showcasing titles that document the Asian American experience. Our second excerpt comes from Beth Lew-Williams’s prizewinning book The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America, which historian Richard White describes as “a powerful argument about racial violence that could not be more timely.” Monday night, Gong was asleep in his tent when the vigilantes returned