The IITs and the Social Life of Caste
Today, the hierarchies of Indian education prize the technical sciences as the true measure of intellectual worth and a proven means of professional advancement. The technical graduate has become India's greatest export, widely understood to exemplify India's comparative advantage in the global marketplace. The value and mobility of Indian technical knowledge are most graphically represented by the success story of the Indian Institutes of Technology. Within Indian and, to a lesser degree, American public discourse, the IITian has become an exemplar of intellectual merit, someone seen as naturally gifted in the technical sciences. This talk explores how the IITian's merit is underwritten by a shift in the definition of caste from more localized articulations to a generalized, supralocal ideal-type that enables new forms of capital investment.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Co-Sponsor
South Asia Center, Co-Sponsor
Department of Anthropology, Co-Sponsor