Gita Dharampal

Professor Gita Dharampal, retired Head, History Department, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University,Germany, is since November 2018 Honorary Research Dean at the Gandhi Research Foundation [GRF], Jalgaon (Maharashtra). She acquired an interdisciplinary academic training in literature, philosophy (Manchester, England and Leipzig, East Germany, 1970-74), social anthropology (Cambridge, England, 1975-76) and Indian cultural history (1976-1980, SOAS, London and Sorbonne, Paris, PhD), with a dissertation on early modern French proto-ethnography of South India, and completed her Habilitation (= German professorial dissertation) in early modern history (Freiburg, Germany, 1992). Her research publications focus on topics ranging from pre-modern transcultural interactions between Europe and India, the maritime cultural history of the Indian Ocean region (1400-1800), medical history, religious-ritual transformations (1500-2000), the socio-cultural and political history of the colonial period, in general, with a special emphasis on Mahatma Gandhi’s movement of political and cultural resurgence. Besides participating in international conferences and giving invited keynote talks, Gita has held visiting fellowships and professorships at various international institutions, among others, at Stanford University, USA, as well as at Indian universities (Delhi, Kolkata and Hyderabad). Her language competencies include English, German, French, Latin and basic Hindi.

At the GRF, she intends to strengthen the research wing, not only by pursuing Gandhian studies, but also by continuing the historical work of her father Shri Dharampal (1922-2006), a historian and political philosopher, whose publications have led to a radical reappraisal of conventional views of the cultural, scientific and technological state of Indian society on the eve of the British conquest.