Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University, New York, USA.
His research interests focus on the anthropology and history of South Asia, with particular focus on the Tamil speaking region of the south, and recently on the period of British colonial rule in India. Although he writes on subjects as diverse as pre-colonial Indian history and contemporary Indian film, current anthropological and cultural theory and the Scottish enlightenment, he has been principally preoccupied in recent years with the historical formation of caste. He is finishing a book entitled - Castes of Mind: Genealogies of Identity and the Postcolonial Predicament in India. He have also begun work on another book project around the question of the production and colonization of history. Additionally, his teaching and research interests range from social, political, and cultural theory to historical anthropology, the history of social thought, and the philosophy of history.
Professor Dirks is among the most prominent representatives of the relatively new discipline of ethnohistory, a combination of anthropological and historical techniques and insights.
1992. \"Castes of Mind,\" Representations, no. 37, Winter 1992, pp. 56-78.
1992. Colonialism and Culture (ed.). Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press (with introduction entitled \"Colonialism and Culture\", pp. 1-27 and article, \"From Little King to Landlord: Colonial Discourse and Colonial Rule\", pp. 175-208).
1993. The Hollow Crown: Ethnohistory of an Indian Kingdom, New Edition, 406 pages. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.
1993. \"Colonial Histories and Native Informants: Biography of an Archive,\" in van der Veerand Breckenridge, eds. Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, pp. 279-313.
1993. With Geoff Eley, Sherry Ortner, eds., Culture/Power/History: A Reader in Contemporary Social Theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
1996. \"Is Vice Versa? Historical Anthropologies and Anthropological Histories,\" inT. McDonald, ed. The Historic Turn in the Human Sciences. Ann Arbor:The University of Michigan Press.
1996. \"Reading Culture: Anthropology and the Textualization of India,\" in E.V. Daniel andJ. Peck, eds., Culture/Contexture, University of California Press.
1996. \"The Conversion of Caste,\" in Peter van der Veer, ed., Conversion to Modernity, Routledge Press.
1998. In Near Ruins: Cultural Theory at the end of the Century, ed., Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998.