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The Internationalist Moment

The Internationalist Moment
South Asia, Worlds, and World Views 1917–39

First Edition
Edited by:
  • Ali Raza - Research Fellow, Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin
  • Franziska Roy - Research Fellow, Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin
  • Benjamin Zachariah - Research Fellow, Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies at Heidelberg University

September 2015 | 320 pages | SAGE India

The years between the First and Second World Wars comprise a critical moment in the history of the world. In the aftermath of the First World War and the Bolshevik Revolution, individuals and countries sought new solutions and blueprints for a world of greater stability, equality, and interdependency. Their divergent ends and objectives were held together, if temporarily, by a euphoria for the vastness and integratedness of the world and the desire and optimism to remake it and shape the future of humanity.

This volume highlights this period in the political and social mobilization that comprises the “internationalist moment,” through the lens of South Asians’ interactions with a wider world and the wider world’s interactions with South Asia. The essays contribute to a growing, but as yet, inadequate field of the intellectual history of South Asia.


Ali Raza, Franziska Roy, and Benjamin Zachariah
Introduction: The Internationalism of the Moment: South Asia and the Contours of the Interwar World
Benjamin Zachariah
Internationalisms in the Interwar Years: The Travelling of Ideas
Michele L Louro
India and the League Against Imperialism: A Special ‘Blend’ of Nationalism and Internationalism
Carolien Stolte
Uniting the Oppressed Peoples of the East: Revolutionary Internationalism in an Asian Inflection
Ali Raza
Straddling the International and the Regional: The Punjabi Left in the Interwar Period
Maia Ramnath
Meeting the Rebel Girl: Anticolonial Solidarity and Interracial Romance
Franziska Roy
International Utopia and National Discipline: Youth and Volunteer Movements in Interwar South Asia
Ana Jelnikar
Srecko Kosovel and Rabindranath Tagore: Universalist Hopes from the Margins of Europe
Robert S Anderson
Meghnad Saha’s Two International Faces: Politics in Science and Science in Politics between the Wars

“The Internationalist Moment offers a detailed and much-needed study of interwar South Asian quests to transcend locality or the state, not simply physically but also intellectually and politically. ... [The] essays … compel us to refine our often simplistic understanding of ‘global’ or ‘transnational’ historiography.”

Chandak Sengoopta
Professor of History, Birkbeck College, University of London

“This volume ... is an important corrective to South Asian histories that elide the international context and to international histories that underestimate the role of South Asia.”

Mrinalini Sinha
Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of History, University of Michigan

“This is an innovative contribution to the emerging literature on global intellectual history ... [T]he essays … are important for the intrinsic value of the subjects they examine and for the methodological suggestion in favor of ‘intermediary’ intellectual history.”

Sudipta Kaviraj
Professor, Indian Politics and Intellectual History, Columbia University

An eponymous Volume about a two-decade-long period of diverse and criss-crossing internationalism, which the world experienced nearly a century ago as the first world war ended…This volume can help us understand what lines of thinking and action those dispossessed by this transition, as well as those thrilled by the opportunities it presents, could take.

Social Change,
Volume 47 (Issue 1), March 2017

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