Ranabir Samaddar, described by a critic as “India’s Boswell”, belongs to the critical school of political readings in India. He is the Director of the Calcutta Research Group, and has pioneered along with others peace studies programmes in South Asia. He has worked extensively on issues of justice and rights in the context of conflicts in South Asia. The recently published Politics of Dialogue (Ashgate, 2004) is the culmination of his work on justice, rights, and peace.
His particular researches have been on migration and refugee studies, the theory and practices of dialogue, nationalism and post-colonial statehood in South Asia, and technological restructuring and new labour regimes. He has worked on various commissions and study groups on issues such as partitions, critical dictionary on globalisation, patters of internal displacement in South Asia in the light of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, institutional practices of refugee care and protection in India, rights of the minorities and forms of autonomy, technological modernization, and occupational health and safety. He serves on the editorial board of several journals and as member of the Calcutta Research group was the founding-editor of Refugee Watch. He has recently completed a three volume study of Indian nationalism, the third one titled as, A Biography of the Indian Nation, 1947-1997 (Sage Publications, 2001). These political writings which include other noted works such as Paradoxes of the Nationalist Time (University Press Limited, 2002) and The Marginal Nation (Sage, 1999) have challenged the prevailing cultural accounts of the birth of nationalism and the nation state, popularised by the western academia in form of cultural studies, and have brought to fore a new turn in the inquiry into the current history of post-colonial politics in South Asia.