Sharmadip Basu

Areas of Interest & Expertise

  • Colonialism and Culture
  • Sound and Society
  • Music and Modernities
  • South Asian American Diaspora
  • Global Sixties
  • Historiography
  • Critical Theory
  • Time and Temporalities


Sharmadip(Toy as he is fondly known) obtained his doctorate degree from the Social Science Program at Syracuse University. His undergraduate and early graduate training was in Economics (B.Sc., Calcutta University; M.A., JNU). He also has a M.Phil. in American Studies from JNU.

Sharmadip’s scholarship and research lie at the disciplinary intersection of History, Cultural Studies, and Cultural Anthropology. Broadly, they can be disaggregated into four interrelated areas of thematic and theoretical interest: culture and colonialism, knowledge and power, music and society, and aesthetics and politics in the modern world, specifically in colonial and post-colonial South Asia. Prior to joining Azim Premji University, he taught in various capacities at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and at Syracuse University.

At Azim Premji University, Sharmadip is currently engaged in co-designing two aspects of the undergraduate curriculum for the School of Arts and Sciences: (i) the Understanding India component of the core curriculum; and (ii) the Historical Studies component of the major in Humanities.


Publications and Writings

Peer-Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters

  • Between Rock and a Hard place: Cultural politics of 1970s rock music in Calcutta.” South Asian Popular Culture 10, no. 3 (2012): 285 – 294.
  • When Sang the Hybrid Muse?: Fusion’ Music in Late-Eighteenth Century India.” In Of Matters Modern: Experience of Modernity in Colonial and Postcolonial South Asia, edited by Debraj Bhattacharya, 18 – 77. Calcutta: Seagull Books, 2008.

Book Reviews

  • Review of Prema Kurien, Kaleidoscopic Ethnicity: International Migration and the Reconstruction of Community Identity in India, Piscataway: Rutgers University Press, 2002 in South Asia Center Newsletter, Syracuse University, Spring 2003
  • Review of Sudipta Sen, Distant Sovereignty: National Imperialism and the Origins of British India, New York: Routledge, 2002 in South Asia Center Newsletter, Syracuse University, Spring 2003

Online Articles

Other Activities

  • Co-Curator, A Place of One’s Own: Exploring America’s South Asian Diaspora, Hatcher Library Gallery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, March 24 — April 212014
  • Workshop Facilitator, The Idea of Politics, South Asian Awareness Network Conference, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, January 2012