Professor Birla’s book Stages of Capital: Law, Culture, and Market Governance in Late Colonial India has been awarded the North American Conference on British Studies’ 2010 Albion Book Prize for the best book in any aspect of British Studies since 1800. Professor Ritu Birla is a core faculty member of the Munk School of Global Affairs’ Centre for South Asian Studies.

From the award citation:

“Interrogating the roots of modern Indian capitalism, Stages of Capital enters the colonial archive from a previously under utilized portal, the rich fiscal and commercial legislation unleashed between 1870-1930 to reconstitute Indian society as a modern market, a normative arena of impersonal, contract-based exchange, unimpeded by antiquated customs and restrictive social ties. . . .Imaginatively empirical and theoretically rich, Stages of Capital provides a much needed bridge between the history of the economy and post/colonial studies, as it successfully marshals diverse critical strategies from feminist theory to the study of law and society. This remarkable book excels in delineating the Indian iteration of the historical encounter between local commercial practices and systems of valuation and the universalizing ideology of capital. Facing the current global crisis and the neo-liberal denial of history as well as its own forms of governance, Birla’s is a timely and poignant intervention in the new history of world capitalism.”

Stages of Capital: Law, Culture and Market Governance in Late Colonial India was published by Duke University Press (Durham and London) in 2009. In December 2010, Orient Blackswan will bring out an Indian edition.