On Thursday, December 2nd, 2021, Juned Shaikh delivered a lecture on content from his recently published book Outcaste Bombay: City Making and the Politics of the Poor (University of Washington Press). His lecture covered the history of how marxist ideas, literature, and intellectuals trickled into Bombay city in the first few years after World War I, and how that shed light on the rising industrial capitalism in the city. At first, Marxist works were translated – which necessitated that Marxists address the question of caste, which invited tension between Marxist and Dalit social movements that shaped the politics of 20th century India. However, in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s many Dalit writers borrowed Marxist conceptual categories, like the lumpen proletariat (as a social and political possibility), to write about life in the city slums.
Juned Shaikh is an alumnus of University of Washington, Seattle’s History PhD program. He was the recipient of the Dean’s medal for the Social Sciences as a graduate student. His lecture was very well attended by UW students and faculty, as well as attendees from other universities.