I am Professor of Geography and Urban Studies and Director of Global Studies at Temple University and Visiting Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania. I write on India, epistemology, inequality, politics, cities, and social theory. Some information on my recent books is in the thumbnails below, and here. I also write fiction.
Among my recent books, the most notable is The Truth About Us: The Politics of Information from Manu to Modi (Hachette, 2019). It shows how India’s “truths” have been made up through the control and manipulation of information–namely, simplifications, categorizations, inventions, denials, and lies–from colonization to the present moment. Other new books include Colossus: The Anatomy of Delhi (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and Seeking Middle Ground: Land, Markets, and Public Policy (Oxford University Press, 2019).
I chaired my department in 2005-10 and during that time was instrumental in creating its doctoral program and undergraduate major in Environmental Studies. A list of my publications is here.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Truth About Us: The Politics of Information from Manu to Modi. (Hachette, 2019). Presents a new argument on how complexity is simplified to create social “truth”. It shows how India’s major religious and caste identities–especially Hindu, ‘lower’ caste, and ‘tribal’–were made up during colonization, and the consequences of these categorizations for politics and inequality in the present moment. It also offers a new comprehensive approach to analyze the “post-truth” condition–from the age of scrolls, through printing, to smartphones–combining ideas from the social sciences and behavioral psychology with information theory. Winner of the Muzaffar Ahmad Memorial Prize.
Colossus: The Anatomy of Delhi. (Cambridge University Press, 2021). Co-edited with Neelanjan Sircar. A multidisciplinary, analytical, data-driven, theory-rich, up-to-date compilation of fifteen essays that dissect the social, political, and physical structure of India’s National Capital Region. The findings raise doubts about the received wisdom on the inevitability of social change with urbanization, suggest new ideas about urban communities and their relationship to the state in its various forms, and point to new ways to examine the multiple manifestations of urban and spatial inequality.
Seeking Middle Ground: Land, Markets, and Public Policy. (Oxford University Press, 2019). Co-edited with Amitendu Palit. Featuring original essays from leading analysts, this book examines the agrarian crisis and urbanization, laws and policies, displacement and compensation, factories and housing, cooperation and conflict, and other vital issues affecting land at the regional and national level. It aims to nudge the discussion towards a better understanding of the complementary strengths of state- and market-led approaches to the many policy and political challenges in India’s extraordinary land markets.