Prof. Dilip Menon


Dilip M Menon is the Mellon Chair of Indian Studies and the Director of the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa at the University of Witwatersrand. He was educated at the Universities of Delhi, Oxford and Cambridge and got his PhD degree from Cambridge. He is a translator from the Malayalam and writes on film, theatre and literature.

His research for the past decade has engaged with issues of caste, socialism and equality in modern India. This has resulted in several essays and a monograph on issues of caste in modern India as also a translation of the first novel written in an Indian language by a lower caste individual.

Currently, he is working on issues of cultural and intellectual history and is engaged in a project on the writing of history in India between 1850 and 1960. The work inaugurated at the Centre is interdisciplinary and transnational in approach and looks afresh at issues of colonialism, modernity and migration in the Global South.

List of publications


  • Caste, nationalism and communism in south India: Malabar, 1900-1948 (Cambridge University Press, 1994)
  • Saraswativijayam (Book Review Literary Trust, New Delhi 2002). Translation of Potheri Kunhambu’s novel of 1893 from Malayalam.
  • The blindness of insight: Essays on caste in modern India (Chennai: Navayana, 2006)
  • Edited  The cultural history of Modern India (Delhi: Social Sciences Press and London: Berghahn, 2006)


  • The Blindness of Insight: Why Communalism in India is about Caste”, in T.N.Srinivasan ed. The future of Secularism (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006) reprinted in Indian Political Thought: A Reader ed. Akash Rathore and Silika Mohapatra (Delhi: Routledge, 2010)
  •   “A Local Cosmopolitan: Kesari Balakrishna Pillai and the invention of Europe for Kerala”, in Sugata Bose and Kris Manjapra ed. Cosmopolitan Thought Zones (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)
  •  “Un Cosmopolitisme local”, in Pascale Casanova ed. Des litteratures combatives: L’internationale des nationalisms litteraires (Paris: Raisons d’Agir, 2011)
  • Translation from the Malayalam of K. Baburaj, “Subjectivity, Otherness, Language”, in K.Satyanarayana and Susie Tharu, No Alphabet in Sight: new Dalit writing from South India (Delhi: Penguin, 2011)

Conferences and workshops

  • Writing Post National Narratives: Other geographies other times 1.3 November 2010
  • Utopias and dystopias in the Global South 2-4 Nov 2011