Dr Mahmudul H Sumon Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology

Research Interest

Ethnicity, identity politics, feminisms, Foucault's governmentality and its effect, transnational governmentality, post-modernism and post structuralism, neo-liberalism, postcolonial theories, adivasi right discourse and politics, the rights issues of the RMG workers in Bangladesh, NGOs etc 

Journals Papers

Adivasi land situation in northwestern Bangladesh: an exploration

The Journal of Social Studies Vol. 103, Journal of the Center for Social Studies, Dhaka

Credit, Development and Women in Bangladesh: In quest of a theoretical framework

This paper aims at three things. It begins with a review and a brief discussion of how creditconstitutes to be a fundamental element in the development discourse. Secondly it shows albeit in a brief way, how in the specific context of Bangladesh, the concept of micro-credit has been put into use/operationalized. This has been exemplified by focusing on how the dominant practices of researchersand scholars working in this field, have so far dealt with the issue, borrowing the models and therationales of empowerment from the West, thus ignoring the local voices and meanings of the term.The third section of the paper deals with my experience as a researcher and a field worker. It is precisely this experience, which lead me to think that all this talks, discussions and seminars on micro-credit in general will carry no meaning to the rural poor if not a through understanding is made of thespecific context of relations in which a woman finds herself in a Bangladesh-village.

Locating a ‘new’ politico-cognitive space in Anthropology: The question of self-identification of the Adibasi people in Bangladesh


In the article, I have briefly touched upon some questions of identity formation of theAdibasi people living in the country. I have tried to show the apparent paradoxes of theseidentity formations which has its root in the discourses of colonialism and which are oftenlinked by a various knowledge systems introduced during the colonial times such as Indology,comparative philology, anthropological descriptions etc. I have commented on the basic thrust of the classificatory schemes, which were in operation during the later period of the British Raj.The write-up shows how some northern Adibasis are often equated with the ‘noble savage’ inthe writings of missionary scholars and also how Adibasi leaders themselves have an ambiguousrelationship with these representations. I intend to argue that new questions with regard to our understanding of community and identity are emerging in the post-colonial discourses of socialscience. These questions, unlike the ones of the idea of a stable/ primordial identity of thecolonial discourse have shown promising possibilities and helped shape our understanding of community and identity in theoretical terms. However, in the anthropological arena of Bangladesh we see no trace or engagement of that development. My goal here is to look intothese possibilities. In the light of increasing visibility of Adibasi related activism in the country,I believe this is the right time to pose these broad theoretical issues. My contention is that afuller understanding of these theoretical questions will force us to rethink the whole issue of difference per se, the identity-based politics of the Adibasi people in the country and give us newinsights in our understanding of identity formation, self hood and agency.