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Brass, Paul R. 1936–

Brass, Paul R. 1936–

(Paul Brass, Paul Richard Brass)

PERSONAL:

Born November 8, 1936, in Boston, MA; married; children: two. Education: Boston Latin School, graduated, 1954; Harvard University, B.A. (cum laude), 1958; University of Chicago, M.A., 1959, Ph.D., 1964.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of Political Science, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

CAREER:

Political scientist, educator, and writer. Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA, lecturer in political science, 1964-65; University of Washington, Seattle, assistant professor, 1965-74, professor of political science, then professor emeritus, 1974—.

MEMBER:

American Political Science Association, Association for Asian Studies, American Anthropological Association.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Fellowships from Ford Foundation, 1961-63 and 1968-69, American Institute of Indian Studies, 1966-76, 1973, 1982-83, 1993; Guggenheim Foundation, 1972-73; and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1994-95; grants from American Council of Learned Societies, 1966-67 and 1973-74, Social Science Research Council, 1973-74, 1977-78, 1982-83.

WRITINGS:

Factional Politics in an Indian State: The Congress Party in Uttar Pradesh, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1965.

(With Marcus Franda) Radical Politics in South Asia, M.I.T. Press (Cambridge, MA), 1973.

Language, Religion, and Politics in North India, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1974.

(With Robert S. Anderson, Edwin Levy, and Barrie M. Morrison) Science, Politics, and the Agricultural Revolution in Asia, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1982.

Caste, Faction, and Party in Indian Politics, two volumes, Chanakya Publications (Delhi, India), 1983.

(Editor) Ethnic Groups and the State, Barnes & Noble Books (Totowa, NJ), 1985.

(Editor, with Francis Robinson) The Indian National Congress and Indian Society, 1885-1985: Ideology, Social Structure, and Political Dominance, Chanakya Publications (Delhi, India), 1987.

The Politics of India since Independence, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1990, 2nd edition, 1994.

Ethnicity and Nationalism: Theory and Comparison, Sage (Newbury Park, CA), 1991.

(Editor) Riots and Pogroms, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Theft of an Idol: Text and Context in the Representation of Collective Violence, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1997.

(Editor, with Achin Vanaik) Competing Nationalisms in South Asia: Essays for Asghar Ali Engineer, Orient Longman (Hyderabad, India), 2002.

The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India, University of Washington Press (Seattle, WA), 2003.

Forms of Collective Violence: Riots, Pogroms, and Genocide in Modern India, Three Essays Collective (Gurgaon, India), 2006.

Contributor to books, including Indian Voting Behavior, edited by Myron Weiner and Rajni Kothari, Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay, 1965; State Politics in India, edited by Myron Weiner, Princeton University Press, 1968; and Education and Politics in India, edited by Susanne Rudolph and Lloyd Rudolph, Harvard University Press, 1972; author of The Congress Party in Uttar Pradesh: The Transformation from Movement to Party in an Indian State. Contributor to journals.

SIDELIGHTS:

Paul R. Brass is an American political scientist who knows French and Hindi and has conducted extensive field research in India for over four decades. He is also the author, coauthor, or editor of numerous books and articles focusing on comparative and South Asian politics, ethnic politics, and collective violence. Much of the author's writings focus on his belief that the ideas of ethnicity and nationalism and the often-resultant violence associated with them are social and political constructions that are essentially modern in nature and result from the modern centralized state. For example, in his 1990 book, The Politics of India since Independence, the author examines conflict in Indian politics and government based on efforts by some to centralize the country's economic and government system as opposed to others who want to maintain regional autonomy. English Historical Review contributor B.D. Graham noted that "the specialist reader will be grateful for the care with which so many difficult questions … have been discussed, and for the wealth of information given in clear accounts, backed by excellent tables and maps."

Ethnicity and Nationalism: Theory and Comparison is a compilation and revision of some of the author's previous works focusing on ethnic and national identity and ethnic conflicts in India, the Soviet Union, and elsewhere. The essays include historical overviews of ethnic groups and nationalities, state governments in India and the tensions between them, and the need for centralizing state policies. Calling the essays "provocative and bold," International Migration Review contributor Proshanta K. Nandi went on to note that the author "bases his theories on his rather extensive study of the historical and political processes in multi-ethnic societies." W.H. Morris-Jones noted in Pacific Affairs that, although nine of the eleven essays were previously published, readers familiar with the author's work "would be well advised not to pass the book by without examination; they could miss some valuable insights."

Theft of an Idol: Text and Context in the Representation of Collective Violence, published in 1997, marks a departure for the author from most of his previous works in that he abandons the empirical social science approach and uses a postmodernist perspective to analyze the politics of collective violence in India. The author examines the many different kinds of collective violence in that country and, according to American Political Science Review contributor Sumit Ganguly, "attempts to show how the particular vantage point of an observer leads to the description and etiology of the eruption of collective violence." Writing in International Organization, James D. Fearon and David D. Laitin commented: "Brass's thesis that the motivations of those implicated in ‘ethnic violence’ may be more complex than simple hatred for an out-group receives substantial support in … extended case studies."

Brass is also coeditor with Achin Vanaik of Competing Nationalisms in South Asia: Essays for Asghar Ali Engineer. The book presents essays by social scientists from around the world focusing on the phenomenon of nationalistic thought and practice and on the issues of secularism and democracy. "This volume shows clearly the writing on the wall: if the region is to prosper, then the ‘competing nationalisms’ must learn to coexist," noted Surinder K. Shukla in Commonwealth & Comparative Politics.

The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India, explores why ethnic violence recurs in India in the forms of riots and political cruelty. He examines issues such as why ethnic violence occurs at specific places and times and the relationship between violence and the political process. Writing in Perspectives on Political Science, Santosh C. Saha noted that the author "provides interested readers with some new themes for analysis" concerning identity and violence. Saha went on to write that The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India "should be of interest not only to South Asian scholars but also to those engaged in policymaking decisions in democracies."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, October, 1991, John R. McLane, review of The Politics of India since Independence, p. 1264.

American Political Science Review, September, 1998, Sumit Ganguly, review of Theft of an Idol: Text and Context in the Representation of Collective Violence, p. 724.

Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, May, 1987, Mary C. Carras, review of Caste, Faction, and Party in Indian Politics, p. 173; May, 1992, review of The Politics of India since Independence, p. 192.

Asian Affairs, November, 2004, Faqir M. Bhatti, review of The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India, p. 418.

Canadian Journal of Political Science, September, 1990, Jayant Lele, review of The Politics of India since Independence, p. 615.

Choice, September, 1992, review of The Indian National Congress and Indian Society, 1885-1985: Ideology, Social Structure, and Political Dominance, p. 63; September, 1992, review of The Politics of India since Independence, p. 63; February, 1995, review of Ethnicity and Nationalism: Theory and Comparison, p. 901.

Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, November, 2003, Surinder K. Shukla, review of Competing Nationalisms in South Asia: Essays for Asghar Ali Engineer, p. 88; November, 2005, Theodore P. Wright, review of The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India, p. 422.

Contemporary Sociology, July, 2004, Peter Van Der Veer, review of The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India, p. 483.

Economic Development & Cultural Change, April, 1992, T.N. Srinivasan, review of The Politics of India since Independence, p. 670.

English Historical Review, February, 1994, B.D. Graham, review of The Politics of India since Independence, p. 269.

Ethnic and Racial Studies, July, 1998, Adrian Guelke, review of Riots and Pogroms, p. 771; November, 1998, Stacey Burlet, review of Theft of an Idol, p. 1160.

History: The Journal of the Historical Association, June, 1992, Judith M. Brown, review of The Politics of India since Independence, p. 261; July, 1999, Sarah Ansari, review of Theft of an Idol, p. 498.

International Affairs, April, 1991, Subrata Kumar Mitra, review of The Politics of India since Independence, p. 382; April, 1995, Richard Newman, review of The Politics of India since Independence, p. 428.

International Migration Review, summer, 1995, Proshanta K. Nandi, review of Ethnicity and Nationalism, p. 589; winter, 1995, Proshanta K. Nandi, review of Ethnicity and Nationalism, p. 1062.

International Organization, autumn, 2000, James D. Fearon and David D. Laitin, "Violence and the Social Construction of Ethnic Identity," includes review of Theft of an Idol, p. 845.

Journal of Asian Studies, November, 1989, Gyan Prakash, review of The Indian National Congress and Indian Society, 1885-1985, p. 917; February, 1991, Robin Jeffrey, review of The Politics of India since Independence, p. 177; February, 1991, review of The Politics of India since Independence, p. 177; February, 1998, Arjun Guneratne, review of Theft of an Idol, p. 248; February, 1999, Ashutosh Varshney, review of Riots and Pogroms, p. 131; February, 2006, Kanchan Chandra, review of The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India, p. 207.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History, autumn, 1991, Philip Oldenburg, review of The Politics of India since Independence, p. 367.

Journal of Peace Research, July, 1998, Kathinka Froystad, review of Theft of an Idol, p. 519.

New Community, July, 1993, Jan Nederveen Pieterse, review of Ethnicity and Nationalism, p. 705.

Orbis, summer, 1990, Ashley J. Tellis, review of The Politics of India since Independence, p. 468.

Pacific Affairs, spring, 1993, W.H. Morris-Jones, review of Ethnicity and Nationalism, p. 117; fall, 1998, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, review of Theft of an Idol, p. 377.

Perspectives on Political Science, summer, 2003, Santosh C. Saha, review of The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India, p. 182.

Political Studies, June, 1991, James Chiriyankandath, review of The Politics of India since Independence, p. 394.

Reference & Research Book News, August, 2003, review of The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India, p. 49.

Slavonic and East European Review, January, 1998, J.D. Klier, review of Riots and Pogroms, p. 167.

Sociology of Religion, fall, 2004, N.J. Demerath III, review of The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India, p. 304.

Times Higher Education Supplement, May 30, 1997, David Taylor, review of Riots and Pogroms, p. 21.

Times Literary Supplement, October 19, 1990, Geoffrey Hawthorn, review of The Politics of India since Independence, p. 1120; May 8, 1998, Rohan Bastin, review of Theft of an Idol, p. 13.

ONLINE

Paul R. Brass Home Page,http://www.paulbrass.com (January 23, 2008).

University of Washington Libraries,http://www.lib.washington.edu/ (January 23, 2008), faculty profile of author.

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