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Political Scientist Paul Brass Sadly Passed Away at 85


Noted American political scientist, Paul Brass passed away at the age of 85 on May 31, 2022. Frank Conlon, professor emeritus of history, announced the news of his demise on Thursday.

Frank Conlon, Brass’s friend and professor of history, comparative religion, and South Asian studies at the University of Washington, wrote: “Paul was a prolific and original scholar who explored comparative and South Asian politics, ethnic politics, communalism, and collective violence.”

Paul Brass has Passed Away.

Paul Brass whose full name was Paul Richard Brass was born on November 8, 1936. He was a professor emeritus of international relations and political science at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington.

After his B.A. in government in 1958 from Harvard College, Brass did M.A. in political science, at the University of Chicago in 1959, followed by a Ph.D. in political science at, the University of Chicago in 1964.

Brass has studied the Indian subcontinent since 1961. He published several books on the politics of India, such as The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India.

Brass is best remembered for his notable research and analysis of communal riots that happened in north India, mainly in western Uttar Pradesh.

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Professor Paul Brass Passed Away at 85

Professor emeritus of political science Paul Brass passed away and intellectuals, poets, academicians, and writers mourned the death of Brass who has done ground-breaking research.

A regular columnist at Economic & Political Weekly, Paul extensively wrote on ‘Coalition Politics in North India’ in the 1960s.

“[Charan Singh] came from a humble background and from the countryside, though he was no country bumpkin, but a self-made man of high intellect and spoke for a new social movement,” reads a snippet from the biography on Paul’s website.

“That of the backward castes of northern India, whose interest he always promoted and, in whose advancement, he played the most important role,” the biography reads.

Professor emeritus of political science Paul Brass passed away

Jairam Ramesh wrote: “Paul Brass, the noted American scholar who studied and wrote on India for almost 6 decades has passed away. His 3-vol biography of Charan Singh is a classic and his work on communal mobilization in UP has resonance even today. His 1978 interview of Indira Gandhi is very valuable.”

“RIP Paul Brass! Your ‘Theft of an Idol’ and ‘Language, Religion, and Politics in North India’ were seminal, shaping scholarship and leaving a huge impact,” professor and columnist Ashutosh Varshney, tweeted.

“Read the RSS chief with Paul Brass. Understand the way violence happens: Rehearsal, Enactment and Explanation and Interpretation. ‘Vyakti Nirman’ is that rehearsal: preparing the actor for violence. The interpretative community has now expanded,” Apoorvanand, a professor of Hindi at the Delhi University wrote.

Jaffrelot Christophe said that Paul Brass has left us, but his books are still with us. He added: “I give here the reasons why we need to (re)read them To understand today’s India & the best methodology in political science.”

“Sad to hear about the demise of Uni of Washington Prof. Paul Brass. Forever indebted to his research and writings on religion, politics of India, and communal violence among others. Had the opportunity to attend one of his online lectures. You’ll be missed Prof,” a journalist tweeted.

“Saddened to hear about the demise of Prof Paul Brass. His works have been instrumental in shaping many of our understanding of politics in North India. Alvida, professor sahib,” Sharjeel Usmani wrote on Twitter.

Another heartbreaking news! Member of the popular gospel vocal group the McCrary Sisters passed away at 67. Deborah McCrary’s cause of death has not been announced but she survived a stroke in 2013 which almost ended her career.

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