Lloyd and Susanne Rudolph:
Asha Sarangi 1
Lloyd and Susanne Rudolph were globally acclaimed scholars of India at the University of Chicago where
they spent nearly four decades of their lives teaching and researching on India and South Asia. Their
numerous works done in this intellectual partnership of more than six decades produced paradigmatic
shift both methodologically and thematically in the study of Indian society and politics, more specifically
about the nature of Indian state and its democratic institutionalism. Their critical concern for India
about its experiments with democratic institutions and modernity of tradition was in consonance with
their convictions about the durability of Indian social ethos and structures of social and political life.
They belonged to the first generation of ‘area specialists’ who returned to their subjects of inquiry
regularly with a critical gaze and newer perspectives over the years. For them, the field of study became
an intellectual habitus that they nurtured with great discipline, care, conscience and craft.
Rudolphs, modernity, area studies, South Asia
Lloyd and Susanne Rudolph can ideally be described as a contrapuntal scholarly couple, not just in life
that they lived together but also in the manner they departed from this world in their last journey together.
In just about 3 weeks after Susanne passed away on 23 December 2015, Lloyd too decided to join her on
16 January 2016. The intense partnership that they had, it seemed somehow appropriate and natural that
Lloyd should not have been left behind for long. This kind of companionship is indeed rare!
They lived a gloriously happy life full of excitement and joy while working, raising their children,
writing, teaching, travelling, hiking, reading and lecturing together. The complementarity and under-
standing that they shared with each other characterized their unique life-long partnership symbolized in
popularly addressing them as the Rudolphs. As self-reflexive social scientists, and in particular political
scientists, at the University of Chicago where they taught for 34 years, they were erudite scholars, pro-
lific writers and extraordinary intellectuals in the US academia where they shaped and built institutions
focusing on the study of India and South Asia. Their numerous works done in this intellectual partnership
of more than six decades produced paradigmatic shift both methodologically and thematically in the
study of Indian society and politics, more specifically about the nature of Indian state and its democratic
1 Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.
Symposium on Rudolphs: III
Studies in Indian Politics
© 2016 Lokniti, Centre for the
Study of Developing Societies
Asha Sarangi, Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.