Professor Sheetal Chhabria wins prestigious John F. Richard Prize
For her first book, titled Making the Modern Slum: The Power of Capital in Colonial Bombay, Associate Professor of History Sheetal Chhabria has been awarded the 2020 John F. Richards Prize in South Asian History.
The award, which recognizes the year’s most distinguished scholarship relating to South Asian history published in the English language, is offered by the American Historical Society.
“Lots of academic work is painfully under-recognized, but I put my heart and soul into the book's research and writing and am hopeful the prize brings visibility to the issues it raises,” Chhabria said.
Chhabria, who specializes in issues surrounding colonialization, poverty and inequality, allows readers to explore the human story behind the British colonization of India in the 19th and 20th centuries, and gives voice to the hundreds of thousands of forgotten laborers and migrants who made Bombay the commercial capital of the British Raj by making commodities and powering commerce.
“My aim was to show how the well-being of the city–rather than of its people–became the goal of the government, positioning famished migrants and the laboring poor as threats to be contained or excluded,” Chhabra explained. “Today, that exclusionary logic continues to guide much postcolonial and neocolonial development on the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere.”