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ISAS Research Team
Professor Robin Jeffrey
     
Designation : Visiting Research Professor
Email : isasrbj@nus.edu.sg
Tel : (65) 6516 1381
Fax : (65) 6776 7505
 
Introduction
 

Professor Robin Jeffrey has published, with his colleague Assa Doron, The Great Indian Phone Book (London: C. Hurst/New York: Harvard University Press, 2013). The book is published in India by Hachette under the title of Cell Phone Nation. It was launched in New Delhi on 18 February 2013 by Mrinal Pande, chair of Prasar Bharati, India's equivalent of the BBC. The book analyzes the expansion of mobile telephone and its implications for society, politics and economics.

Professor Jeffrey is a co-editor of "Being Muslim in South Asia," a collection under contract to Oxford University Press to be published in 2013, and a co-editor of "Mughals and Mandarins," studies of the Chinese and Indian media by analysts and practitioners.

His long-term work focuses on a book called Slices of India, a history of India in the second half of the 20th century based around the years of the great Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

Professor Jeffrey has written about Kerala, Punjab and Indian media. A third edition of India’s Newspaper Revolution was published in 2010.

He first lived in India as a school teacher in Chandigarh from 1967 to 1969 and has lived for six years in India between 1967 and 2010. He has published a number of books and contributes regularly to policy papers, reports and journals.

Professor Jeffrey completed a doctorate in Indian history at Sussex University in the United Kingdom in 1973. He taught for 25 years in the Politics Program at La Trobe University in Melbourne, and worked twice at the Australian National University in Canberra.   

 

 
Area of Interest and Expertise
 

Politics and Modern History

 
Current Research
 
Indian telecommunications. Islam in contemporary south Asia. Media change in India and China.
 
Publications
 

"The Punjab Boundary Force and the Problem of Order: August 1947", Modern Asian Studies, VIII, 4, 1974, 491-520.

"The Social Origins of a Caste Association, 1875-1905: The Founding of the SNDP Yogam", South Asia, 4, 1974, 39-59.

"The Politics of `Indirect Rule': Types of Relationship among Rulers, Ministers and Residents in a `Native State'", Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, XIII, 3, November 1975, 261-81.

"The Temple-Entry Movement in Travancore, 1860-1940", Social Scientist (Trivandrum), 44, March 1974, 3-27.  (Reprinted in Social Compass, Louvain, special issue on religion and caste, XXVIII, 2-3, 1981, 269-91).

[With David Arnold and James Manor], "Caste Associations in South India: A Comparative Analysis", Indian Economic and Social History Review, XIII, 3, July-September 1976, 353-73.

"The Malayali Origins of Anti-Brahminism in South India", Indian Economic and Social History Review, XIV, 2, April-June 1977, 255-68.

"Bureaucratic Politics in an Imperial System: the Rivalry between Two Indian Dewans, 1936-41", Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, XV, 3, November 1977, 166-85.

"Matriliny, Marxism and the Birth of the Communist Party in Kerala, 1930-40", Journal of Asian Studies, XXXVII, 1, November 1978, 77-98.

"What the Statues Tell: The Politics of Choosing Symbols in Trivandrum", Pacific Affairs, LIII, 3, Fall 1980, 484-502.

"India's Working-Class Revolt: Punnapra-Vayalar and the Communist `Conspiracy' of 1946", Indian Economic and Social History Review, XVIII, 2, 1981, 97-122.

"`Destroy Capitalism!'  The Growing Solidarity of the Alleppey Coir Workers, 1930 1940", Economic and Political Weekly (Bombay), 21 July 1984, 1159 65.

"The Culture of Daily Newspapers in India: How It's Grown, What It Means", Economic and Political Weekly, 4 April 1987, 607-11.

"Grappling with History: Sikh Politicians and the Past", Pacific Affairs, LX, 1 (Spring 1987), 59-72.

"Culture and Governments: How Women Made Kerala Literate", Pacific Affairs, LX, 4 (Fall 1987), 447-72.

"Women and the `Kerala Model': Four Lives, 1870s-1980s", South Asia, vol. 12, no. 2, (1989) 13-32.

"Jawaharlal Nehru and the Smoking Gun: Who Pulled the Trigger on Kerala's Communist Government in 1959," Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, vol. 29, no. 1 (March 1991), 72-85.

"Matriliny, Women, Development - and a Typographical Error," Pacific Affairs, vol. 63, no. 4 (Fall 1991), 85-9.

"Indian-Language Newspapers and Why They Grow," Economic and Political Weekly, 18 September 1993, 2004-11.

“Kerala’s Story: Review of Kerala: Radical Reform as Development in an Indian State,” Economic and Political Weekly, 5 March 1994, p. 549.

"Monitoring Newspapers and Understanding the State: India, 1948-93," Asian Survey, vol. 34, no. 9 (September 1994), pp. 748-63.

"The Right Stuff: Leadership, Representation and India's Parliamentary System," Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, vol. 33, no. 2 (July 1995), pp. 257-75.

"Bengali: `Professional, Somewhat Conservative' and Calcuttan," Economic and Political Weekly, 25 Jan. 1997, pp. 141-3

"Gujarati: `Chequebook Journalism in Reverse ...'," Economic and Political Weekly, 15 February 1997, pp. 319-22

"Hindi: `Taking to the Punjab Kesari Line'," Economic and Political Weekly, 18 January 1997, pp. 77-83

"Kannada: `We Fake It There Is Competition'," Economic and Political Weekly, 22 March 1997, pp. 566-70

"Malayalam: `The Day-to-Day Social Life of the People ...'," Economic and Political Weekly, 4-11 Jan. 1997, pp. 18-21

"Marathi: Big Newspapers Are Elephants," Economic and Political Weekly, 22 February 1997, pp. 384-8

"Oriya: `Identifying ... with Newspapers’," Economic and Political Weekly, 15 March 1997, pp. 511-14

"Punjabi: the Subliminal Charge," Economic and Political Weekly, 1-8 March 1997, pp. 443-5

"Tamil: `Dominated by Cinema and Politics'," Economics and Political Weekly, 8 February 1997, pp. 254-6

"Telugu: Ingredients of Growth and Failure," Economic and Political Weekly, 1 February 1997, pp. 192-5

"Urdu: Waiting for Citizen Kane?", Economic and Political Weekly, 29 March 1997, pp. 631-6.

"Advertising and Indian-Language Newspapers: How Capitalism Supports (Certain) Cultures and (Some) States, 1947-96," Pacific Affairs, vol. 70, no. 1 (Spring 1997), pp. 57-83.

“[Not] Being There: Dalits and India’s Newspapers,” South Asia, vol. 24, no. 2 (December 2001), pp. 225-38.

With Peter Friedlander and Sanjay Seth, “’Subliminal Charge‘: How Hindi-language Newspaper Expansion Affects India,” Media International Australia, No. 100 (August 2001), pp. 147-66. . Edited and republished in Arvind Rajagopal (ed.), The Indian Public Sphere (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 188-206.

“Communications and Capitalism in India, 1750-2010,” South Asia, vol. 25, no. 2 (August 2002), pp. 61-76.

“Grand Canyon, Shaky Bridge: Media Revolution and the Rise of ‘Hindu’ Politics,” South Asia,  vol. 25, no. 3 (December 2002), pp. 281-300. Reprinted in John McGuire and Ian Copland (eds), Hindu Nationalism and Governance  (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 334-55.

“Legacies of Matriliny: the Place of Women and the ‘Kerala Model’,” Pacific Affairs, vol. 78, no. 1 (Winter 2004-05), pp. 647-64.

“The Mahatma Didn’t Like the Movies and Why It Matters: Indian Broadcasting Policy, 1920s-1990s,” Global Media and Communication, vol. 2, no. 2 (2006), pp. 207-27. Edited and republished in Arvind Rajagopal (ed.), The Indian Public Sphere (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 171-87.

“Testing Concepts about Print, Newspapers and Politics: Kerala, India, 1800-2007,” Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 68, no. 2 (May 2009), pp. 465-89.

 

with Assa Doron, “Celling India: exploring a society's embrace of the mobile phone,” South Asian History and Culture, vol. 2, Issue 3 (July 2011), pp. 397-416.

 

with Assa Doron, “Mobile-izing: Democracy, Organization and India’s First ‘Mass Mobile Phone’ Elections,” Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 71, no. 1 (February 2012), pp. 63-80.

 

with Assa Doron, “The Mobile Phone in India and Nepal: Political Economy, Politics and Society,” Pacific Affairs, vol. 85, no. 3 (September 2012), pp. 469-82.

 

 

with Assa Doron, “Celling India: exploring a society's embrace of the mobile phone,” South Asian History and Culture, vol. 2, Issue 3 (July 2011), pp. 397-416.

 

with Assa Doron, “Mobile-izing: Democracy, Organization and India’s First ‘Mass Mobile Phone’ Elections,” Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 71, no. 1 (February 2012), pp. 63-80.

 

with Assa Doron, “The Mobile Phone in India and Nepal: Political Economy, Politics and Society,” Pacific Affairs, vol. 85, no. 3 (September 2012), pp. 469-82.



 

The Decline of Nayar Dominance: Society and Politics in Travancore, 1847-1908 (London: Chatto & Windus for Sussex University Press, 1976), 376 pp.

(ed.), People, Princes and Paramount Power: Society and Politics in the Indian Princely States (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1978), 396 pp.

nayar medhavitvattinte patanam [the decline of Nayar dominance], Malayalam translation by Puthuppalli Raghavan and M.S. Chandrasekhara Warriar (Kottayam: D.C. Books, 1979), 414 pp.

Second edition with new introductory remarks (Kottayam: D. C. Books, 2003)

(ed.), Asia - The Winning of Independence: The Philippines, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaya (London: Macmillan, 1981; reprinted 1987), 320 pp.

What's Happening to India? Punjab, Ethnic Conflict, Mrs Gandhi's Death and the Test for Federalism (London: Macmillan/New York: Holmes & Meier, 1986), 249 pp.

What's Happening to India? Punjab, Ethnic Conflict and the Test for Federalism, 2nd edition (London: Macmillan/New York: Holmes & Meier, 1994), 249 pp.

(coordinating editor), India: Rebellion to Republic: Selected Writings, 1857-1990 (New Delhi: Sterling, 1990), 510 pp.

Politics, Women and Well-Being: How Kerala Became ‘a Model' (London: Macmillan, 1992/New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1993), 285 pp.

Second edition, with new introductory chapter (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2001)

India’s Newspaper Revolution: Capitalism, Politics and the Indian-Language Press, 1977-97 (London: C. Hurst/New Delhi: Oxford University Press/New York: St Martin’s Press, 2000), 234 pp.

Second edition with new introductory chapter (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003)

Third edition with an additional chapter (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2010)

Hindi edition, Bharat-ki samacharpatra kranti (New Delhi: Indian Institute of Mass Communications, 2004), 215 pp.

indiayute patraviplavam (Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Languages Institute, 2005) [Malayalam translation of India’s Newspaper Revolution]

Media and Modernity: Communications, Women and the State in India (New Delhi: Permanent  Black, 2010), 298pp.

[with Assa Doron], Cell Phone Nation (New Delhi: Hachette, 2013). Published as The Great Indian Phone Book (London: C. Hurst, 2013) and (New York: Harvard University Press, 2013) xxiv + 293 pp.

editor with Ronojoy Sen and Pratima Singh, More than Maoism: Politics, Policies and Insurgencies in South Asia (New Delhi: Manohar, 2012), 470 pp.

 editor with Edward Aspinall and Anthony Regan, Diminishing Conflicts in Asia and the Pacific: Why Some Subside and Others Don’t (London: Routledge, 2012), 304 pp.




"A Sanctified Label - `Congress' in Travancore Politics", in D.A. Low (ed.), Congress and the Raj (London: Heinemann, 1977), 435-72.

"Peasant Movements and the Communist Party in Kerala", in D.B. Miller (ed.), Peasants and Politics (Melbourne: Edward Arnold, 1978), 130-48.

"Introduction," in R. Jeffrey (ed.), People, Princes and Paramount Power (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1978), 1-31.

"Travancore: Status, Class and the Growth of Radical Politics, 1860-1940," in R. Jeffrey (ed.), People, Princes and Paramount Power (New Delhi: OUP, 1978), 136-69.

"Introduction: The Setting for Independence," in R. Jeffrey (ed.), Asia - The Winning of Independence (London: Macmillan, 1981), 1-22.

"India: Independence and the Rich Peasant," in R. Jeffrey (ed.), Asia - The Winning of Independence (London: Macmillan, 1981), 71-112.

"Anthikad, a Village in Kerala, 1947-87," in Jim Masselos, ed., India: the Making of the Modern Nation, New Delhi, Sterling, 1990, 54-73.

"The Perils of Prosperity: India's Dilemma in Punjab," in R. Jeffrey (coordinating editor), India: Rebellion to Republic (New Delhi: Sterling, 1990), 364-82.

"The Prime Minister and the Ruling Parties," in James Manor (ed.), Nehru to the Nineties: the Changing Office of Prime Minister in India (London: C. Hurst, 1994), 161-85.

"The Decline of Nayar Taravads," in N. Jayaram and Satish Saberwal (eds), Social Conflict (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 63-78.

“The Public Sphere of Print Journalism,” in Nalini Rajan (ed.), Practising Journalism: Values, Constraints, Implications (New Delhi: Sage, 2005), pp. 257-66 [ published as “Breaking News,” The Little Magazine, vol. 4, no. 2 (2003), pp. 6-10].

“Coalitions and Consequences: Historical, Economic, Social and Political Considerations from India,” in Raghbendra Jha (ed.), The Indian Economy Sixty Years after Independence (London: Palgrave, 2008),  pp. 7-16.

“Urdu Newspapers in India: Waiting for Citizen Kane,” in Ather Farouqui (ed.), Muslims and Media Images: News versus Views (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 221-36 [published as "Urdu: Waiting for Citizen Kane?", Economic and Political Weekly, 29 March 1997, pp. 631-6].

“Introduction,” in William T. Tow and Chin Kin Wah (eds), ASEAN-India-Australia: Towards Closer Engagement in a New Asia (Singapore: Institute for South East Asian Studies, 2009), pp. xvii-xxi.

Articles on "Kerala", "Nairs", "Ezhavas" and "E.M.S. Namboodiripad", totalling 2,000 words in Ainslie T. Embree (ed.), Encyclopaedia of Asian History (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons for the Asia Society, 1987).
  • “Political Possibilities in India: Speculations, 2004-21,” paper for Department of Education, Science and Training on educational possibilities in India, 10 November 2004, on the web at https://aei.dest.gov.au/aei/mip/currentmarketinformation/india/otherinformation/india05oi01.htm
  • “Hingeing the Sphere: How Indian-Language Newspapers Make a Nation and Create Publics,” Australia-India Media Symposium, Asian College of Journalism and Australian High Commission, Chennai, October 2005
  • “Media and Democracy in India: Preliminary Comparisons of Kerala and Uttar Pradesh (UP),” Democracy in India conference, University of California, Berkeley, September 2006
  • “The Growth of India,” Sir Leslie Melville Annual Lecture, Canberra, 10 October 2007
  • “India’s 15th General Elections,” National Press Club and High Commission for India, Canberra, 15 May 2009
  • “Australasia: a Long History … and why we need to know it,” History Teachers’ Association of Australia, National Conference, Melbourne, 17 July 2009

Asia Across the Curriculum. Report and Recommendations of the First National Conference on Asian Studies in Schools. Melbourne, 8-10 November 1990. Report commissioned by the Asian Studies Council, Department of Education, Employment and Training. 15 pp.

 

co-author with 5 others, National Strategy for the Study of India and Indian Languages. Report commissioned by the Asian Studies Council from the Melbourne South Asian Studies Group, May 1991, 86 pp.

 

convenor and a principal writer, Maximizing Australia’s Asia Knowledge. Report commissioned by the Asian Studies Association of Australia, Inc. on the study of Asia in universities. (Melbourne: ASAA, 2002), 72 pp.

 
 
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