The Promise and Limitations of Non-Violent Civil Disobedience: Lessons from India's Struggle for Independence



Saumitra Jha, Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; Associate Professor, Political Economy, Graduate School of Business and by courtesy, Economics and Political Science, Stanford University

Date and Time

January 19, 2018 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM



RSVP required by 5PM January 18.


Philippines Conference Room
Encina Hall, 3rd Floor
616 Serra Street, Stanford, CA 94305

Professor Jha will present an overview of a book project, joint with Rikhil Bhavnani, that examines the promise and limitations of non-violent civil disobedience as a means for peaceful political reform. The project draws upon both cross-country comparisons of political movements, and a detailed  empirical analyses of India's struggle for independence that draws upon hitherto- untapped secret intelligence reports and archival sources. We lay out both the conditions for success of non-violent movements in general, and also the implications for the subsequent economic and political development of South Asia.


Professor Saumitra Jha holds a BA from Williams College, master’s degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD in economics from Stanford University. Prior to joining the GSB, he was an Academy Scholar at Harvard University. He has been a Fellow of the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance and the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University and received the Michael Wallerstein Award for best published article in Political Economy from the American Political Science Association in 2014 for his research on ethnic tolerance.  He currently serves on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Development Economics and the Journal of Comparative Economics. Professor Jha has consulted on economic and political risk issues for the United Nations/ WTO, the World Bank and other agencies.


About the colloquia:

In 2016, the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, in collaboration with the Stanford Center for South Asia, launched a series of public lectures to broaden our understanding and discussion of contemporary India — its enormous domestic potential and problems, its place in the region and the world, and the ambitious agenda of the new Modi administration. Building on the strong engagement of those issues from across the university community and beyond, we are continuing the series, with generous support from the U.S. India Business Council, in the 2017-2018 academic year. We will  draw business, political, diplomatic and academic experts from the U.S. and India to explore topics including India’s innovation economy, India-China relations, India’s pivotal role in global health, and U.S.-India relations. 

This colloquia is co-sponsored with the Stanford Center for South Asia