Sunday, August 04, 2013


  1. Latika Chaudhury What constrained the expansion of education in British India?

    The overall enrolment patterns provide strong evidence of India’s limited achievement at the primary level, but relatively superior performance at the secondary level. As late as 1891, only one out of 10 primary school-age children were enroled in any type of school. The number of students enrolled steadily increased in the 20th century, but even by 1941 only about one-third of school age children were enrolled in school, with sharp regional differences. Secondary and collegiate level enrolment was more remarkable — enrolment more than quadrupled between 1891 and 1941 with more than 6% of school-age children attending secondary school by 1941.

    Variations across regions and social groups

    However, these enrolment levels mask the tremendous regional variation within India. At every level, the more advanced coastal provinces of Bengal, Bombay and Madras out-performed the interior provinces of Bihar and United Provinces. Tremendous variation across social groups was also evident - certain religions such as Christians and Jains were among the most literate in colonial India. At the other end of the spectrum, tribal groups living in geographically remote parts of the country had the lowest literacy rates (less than 1%). Average Muslim literacy at 6.4% was below Hindu literacy at 8.4%, but there were significant regional differences. Among Hindus, there were large differences by caste — Brahmans at the upper end of the caste spectrum averaged 33%, while lower castes averaged 1.6%.

  2. Natasha Sarin and Sarah Cannon: Larry Summers: Two Women's Perspective

  3. Triggered by a horrible FoxNews interview of Reza Aslan, author of a recent book on Jesus, Adam Gopnik pens a short piece on the historical narratives about Jesus.

    As always in these things, the interpretation involves picking out some texts as core while dismissing others as late or interpolated, with the criterion for choosing between them seeming to be, more or less, whether stories float your boat rather than what truths can be shown to walk on water. If you privilege the radical, Zealot Jesus—the one who eats with prostitutes and dismisses kosher diets and rails against Caesar —you have a hard time explaining the unworldly, Sermon on the Mount Jesus, and a still harder time explaining the purely hieratic, apolitical non-human savior-from-heaven Jesus who emerges in Paul’s letters in the decades after Jesus’s death. If you like the messianic son-of-man Jesus, you have a hard time explaining what it was that riled up the Romans. If you go for the angry activist Yeshua who drove the poor money changers from the Temple (many of them no worse than the kinds of currency-exchange folks you see at airports), you have a hard time explaining how he emerged so quickly as Paul’s Christ, a figure so remote from politics or life itself—no personal stories with wise sayings—as to lead to the rational suspicion that Paul did not intend to indicate anyone of earthly existence at all.

  4. NYTimes on the Colin McGinn affair, and the broader debate about sexism in academic philosophy: A Star Philosopher Falls, and a Debate Over Sexism Is Set Off.

  5. Ruth Starkman: Confessions of an Application Reader: Lifting the Veil on the Holistic Process at the University of California, Berkeley.

  6. Meena Menon: Of Maal and Men: "We protest about rape, dowry deaths and the murder of unborn girls, but most of us end up ignoring men who consider it their right to stare at women."