Major Papers


Dalit Consciousness, Critical Race Theory, Social Exclusion, British Colonialism, United Nations


The centuries-old caste system dividing individuals in society in a hierarchical order has long been responsible for the continuous oppression of the Dalit (also referred to as Untouchables) population in India. Experiences associated with British colonization period in the country have greatly influenced the fundamental social values, structures, and institutional frameworks of modern and democratic India, along with the identity of Dalits. Scholars in the newly emerged academic field of Dalit studies have examined contemporary issues of the Dalit population, whereas academics of post-colonial studies have analyzed the various social, economic, and cultural losses of British colonization in India. Although the aspects of Dalit modernization as a result of colonialism in India has been explored by scholars, the topic has not been widely discussed in alignment with the frameworks and principles of Critical Race Theory (CRT) to understand broader identity-related aspects of social exclusion, privilege, power.

This paper will aim to perform a qualitative research study on further examining the knowledge of the impacts of British colonialism and post-independent experiences on the identity and consciousness of the Dalit population in India. It will also aim to discuss the populations efforts of internationalizing the Dalit cause through engagements with the United Nations and approaching the international organization as a protector and promoter of global human rights, equality, and dignified living. It will examine the role of the UN in attempts to end centuries-old practices of caste-based discrimination which continue to severely affect the Dalit population. This research study will make a valuable contribution to relevant fields of Dalit studies, caste studies, and post-colonial studies by exploring Dalit identity and consciousness.

Primary Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Major

Program Reader

Dr. Roy Amore

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

Document Type

Major Research Paper

Convocation Year