The idea for this special issue emerged two years ago. Since then, the two of us have exchanged hundreds of emails, collaborated on every aspect of it, and have had many spirited conversations around caste and life narratives. In this journey, we got tremendous encouragement and inspiration from many colleagues, friends, and fellow travelers. As this issue of the journal comes to fruition, we wish to offer our deep appreciation to the coeditors of Biography (Cynthia Franklin, Craig Howes, and John David Zuern) for their expert knowledge of life narratives, for their unstinting support at every step, and for their extreme generosity.
Biography made it possible for all the contributors to come together at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa in Honolulu for an intense and enriching three-day workshop in 2016, which helped to shape the issue in profound ways. Stan Schab, senior editor, was immensely helpful in the early stages of organizing the workshop; and Anjoli Roy, the managing editor of Biography, has been hands on and supportive throughout, including, with John David Zuern, in casting a keen eye over the essays as they passed through copyediting. We offer all of them our warm thanks.
We also wish to acknowledge S. Charusheela, scholar and friend, who is not a contributor but who, in her enthusiasm, flew out from Seattle to participate—her thoughtful remarks and contributions were much appreciated; and Mari Yoshihara, who made time for advice at a key moment.
Finally, the contributors of this issue themselves have inspired us with their thought-provoking ideas and readings. We thank them for making this collaborative project such a pleasure and such a success.
Shankar and Charu [End Page 288]
Charu Gupta is presently a visiting professor and ICCR Chair at the University of Vienna. She teaches in the Department of History, University of Delhi. She has been a visiting faculty member at Yale University, Washington University, and the University of Hawai'i. She has also been a fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Delhi; the Social Science Research Council, New York; the Asian Scholarship Foundation, Thailand; the Well-come Institute, London; and the University of Oxford. She is the author of Sexuality, Obscenity, Community: Women, Muslims and the Hindu Public in Colonial India (Permanent Black, 2001; Palgrave, 2002), and The Gender of Caste: Representing Dalits in Print (Permanent Black and U of Washington P, 2016). She is also the editor of Gendering Colonial India: Reforms, Print, Caste and Communalism (Orient Blackswan, 2012).