Emeritus Professor, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Robin Jeffrey studied at Canada’s University of Victoria in British Columbia and the University of Sussex in the UK. He first worked as a journalist at the Daily Colonist in Victoria, before beginning his teaching career in North India’s Chandigarh region at the Regional Institute of English and the Canadian University Service Overseas. Following this period he undertook a Doctorate in Modern Indian History at Sussex. Jeffrey came to ANU as a Research Fellow in 1973 and taught in the Politics Program at Melbourne’s La Trobe University from 1979-2005.
His special interest is in the modern history and politics of India. Professor Jeffrey maintains an interest in matrilineal societies, particularly in Kerala in south India, which arose from his doctoral thesis, later published as The Decline of Nayar Dominance. Having worked as a teacher in Punjab, he was driven to try to understand the Khalistan secessionist movement that arose from 1981. This resulted in What’s Happening to India? and a continuing interest in ethnicity, nationalism and identity formation. His two other main interests are ‘development’ in a wide sense (Politics, Women and Well-Being) and newspapers and media (India’s Newspaper Revolution). His current substantial project is an account of India in the second half of the twentieth century, based on portraits of the six years in which the great Kumbh mela was held.