Professor Sekhar Bandyopadhyay is an outstanding scholar in the Humanities, specialising in modern Indian history. He is regarded by his peers as one of the best historians in his field anywhere in the world, with the scope of his work broadening from colonial Bengal to South-East Asia and the Australia-New Zealand region. In particular, he has written pioneering publications on caste-politics in Bengal, in effect developing a whole new sub-field in Bengali history, and his analysis of institutional and cultural politics in order to explain how lower-caste groups have been dominated by social superiors is exemplary. He is highly respected for his ability to combine detailed archival research with the larger themes of social and political history. Over a period of 25 years, he has produced 7 monographs, 3 edited volumes, and over 30 book chapters and articles.
Described as “a scholar of unfailing grace and courtesy to others”, Professor Bandyopadhyay is also held in high regard beyond his immediate field for the depth, subtlety and imaginative scope of his scholarship. He writes on a range of topics and each is undertaken with the same professional attention and care that he brings to his specialist studies. Since his arrival in New Zealand in 1992, he has contributed to his immediate scholarly community by serving as Head of History and as Associate Dean in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Victoria University, and he has contributed to the broader intellectual community by playing s central role in the Asian Studies network and by taking up research on Indian-New Zealand migrants.
That someone of Professor Bandyopadhyay’s international stature is able to live and pursue his work from New Zealand is testament to his own outstanding abilities and to the wide ranging and international character of the field of Humanities in Aotearoa/New Zealand.