Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Uday Mehta

Committee Members

Susan Buck-Morss

Manu Bhagavan

Subject Categories

Comparative Politics | Intellectual History | Political History | Political Theory


Bangladesh, Nationalism, Modernity, Political Thought, Intellectual History


This dissertation constructs a history and conducts an analysis of Bangladeshi political thought with the aim to better understand the thought-world and political subjectivities in Bangladesh. The dissertation argues that political thought in Bangladesh has been profoundly structured by colonial and other encounters with modernity and by concerns about constructing a national identity. Negotiations between the incomplete and continuous projects of modernization and identity formation have produced certain anxieties about becoming that permeates political consciousness and ideas in the country. Though such anxieties of becoming are also shared by other postcolonial countries, the specific, though not necessarily exclusive, character of Bangladeshi thought emerges out of the country’s particular political history and the double birthof the nation – first as Pakistan, then as Bangladesh. The dissertation seeks to establish this specific character of Bangladeshi political thought and political subjectivity through investigations into the political and intellectual histories of erstwhile East Pakistan and present day Bangladesh, engaging closely with the political lives and thoughts of four select thinkers and political actors – Abul Mansur Ahmad, Abul Hashim, Maolana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.