Professor Sumantra Bose

Photo of Sumantra Bose

Professor of International and Comparative Politics

Office: CON 4.07 Connaught House
Office Hours: Fridays 14:45 - 16:00 (by appointment via LSE for You)
Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 7811


Sumantra Bose joined the LSE in 1999 as The Ralf Dahrendorf Fellow in Comparative Politics. He became Lecturer in 2001, Reader in 2003, and since 2006 he has held a Chair in International and Comparative Politics at the School.

Bose was born and raised in Kolkata (Calcutta) in India's West Bengal state. After 12 years of schooling at Kolkata's St Xavier's Collegiate School, he went to Amherst College in Massachusetts, USA in 1988 for undergraduate studies. He graduated from Amherst College with highest honors (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in 1992, majoring in political science with informal minors in history and economics. He then entered Columbia University in New York City, where he received MA, MPhil and PhD (1998) degrees in political science.

Bose is the author of six books, most recently Transforming India: Challenges to the World's Largest Democracy, published globally by Harvard University Press in September 2013 (and simultaneously in the Indian subcontinent by Pan/Macmillan/Picador India, under the Picador imprint). His other recent books are Contested Lands: Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, Cyprus, and Sri Lanka (Harvard University Press, 2007), Kashmir: Roots of Conflict, Paths to Peace (Harvard University Press, 2003), and Bosnia after Dayton: Nationalist Partition and International Intervention (Oxford University Press, 2002). Contested Lands has also been published in an edition for the Indian subcontinent by HarperCollins India, and in Arabic translation by Arab Scientific Publishers, Beirut.

Professor Bose's work has been supported by numerous grant-making bodies in both the USA and the UK, including the Social Science Research Council, New York and the Leverhulme Trust, London. He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations, the UK's Department for International Development, and the House of Commons' foreign affairs committee. He contributes regularly to major international media including the BBC, Al Jazeera and CNN. He has given invited lectures and seminars at leading universities, think-tanks and policy forums across the world.

An Indian citizen, Sumantra Bose spends a considerable portion of his time in India. He likes good food, good wine, good cinema (especially on political themes), and travelling, particularly in war-zones and post-conflict areas.

Research Interests

  • Ethnic and nationalist conflict 
  • Democracies and democratization 
  • Peace processes in 'national self-determination' disputes
  • Peace-building in post-war societies
  • The politics of citizenship and identity
  • Politics in India 
  • The Kashmir conflict
  • The former Yugoslavia, especially Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • The Middle East, especially the Israeli-Palestinian question

Teaching Responsibilities

  • GV245: Democracy and Democratization
  • GV465: War, Peace and the Politics of National Self-Determination
  • GV4H2: Contemporary India: The World's Largest Democracy in the Early 21st Century

Featured Book

Transforming IndiaTransforming India: Challenges to the World's Largest Democracy

(Harvard University Press, 2013)

A nation of 1.25 billion people composed of numerous ethnic, linguistic, religious, and caste communities, India is the world’s most diverse democracy. Drawing on his extensive fieldwork and experience of Indian politics, Sumantra Bose tells the story of democracy’s evolution in India since the 1950s—and describes the many challenges it faces in the early twenty-first century.

Over the past two decades, India has changed from a country dominated by a single nationwide party into a robust multiparty and federal union, as regional parties and leaders have risen and flourished in many of India’s twenty-eight states. The regionalization of the nation’s political landscape has decentralized power, given communities a distinct voice, and deepened India’s democracy, Bose finds, but the new era has also brought fresh dilemmas.

The dynamism of India’s democracy derives from the active participation of the people—the demos. But as Bose makes clear, its transformation into a polity of, by, and for the people depends on tackling great problems of poverty, inequality, and oppression. This tension helps explain why Maoist revolutionaries wage war on the republic, and why people in the Kashmir Valley feel they are not full citizens. As India dramatically emerges on the global stage, Transforming India: Challenges to the World’s Largest Democracy provides invaluable analysis of its complexity and distinctiveness.


Historical inevitability? The regionalisation of Indian politics (Part I)
Bose, Sumantra and South Asia, LSE (2012) Historical inevitability? The regionalisation of Indian politics (Part I). South Asia @ LSE (09 Jul 2012). Blog.

Historical inevitability? The regionalisation of Indian politics (Part II)
Bose, Sumantra and South Asia, LSE (2012) Historical inevitability? The regionalisation of Indian politics (Part II). South Asia @ LSE (11 Jul 2012). Blog.

Class, culture, and politics: the making of Mamata Banerjee
Bose, Sumantra (2012) Class, culture, and politics: the making of Mamata Banerjee. South Asia @ LSE (26 Sep 2012). Blog.

Indian democracy: a work in progress
Bose, Sumantra (2013) Indian democracy: a work in progress. South Asia @ LSE (15 Oct 2013). Blog.

Spotlight on India’s Lok Sabha elections: why do Indians vote?
Banerjee, Mukulika and Bose, Sumantra (2014) Spotlight on India’s Lok Sabha elections: why do Indians vote? South Asia @ LSE (07 Apr 2014). Blog.

Go to LSE Research Online for full publications archive