The Chicago School goes East: Edward Shils and the dilemma of the Indian intellectuals, circa 1956-67

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Abstract

The sociologist Edward Shils (1910-95) is a neglected commentator on modern India. Best known in a South Asian context for his involvement in the Congress for Cultural Freedom, Shils also produced an influential study on Indian intellectuals, published in 1961. He was one of the few non-Marxists to write about the role of intellectuals during the era of decolonization in Asia and Africa. His book appeared in the same year as Frantz Fanon's Les Damnés de la Terre (1961) and a year before C. L. R. James's Marxism and the Intellectuals (1962), just as Pan-Africanism was finding its ideological voice. This article recovers Shils' work on the Indian intellectual. It describes his Indian interlocutors, his methodology, and his claims about the isolated and ineffectual character of the Indian academic elite. The article concludes with an examination of the longer-term influence and validity of Shils' critique of the Indian intelligentsia.

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APA

Sharma, S. (2020). The Chicago School goes East: Edward Shils and the dilemma of the Indian intellectuals, circa 1956-67. Modern Asian Studies, 54(6), 2087–2111. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0026749X19000465

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