I am a cultural anthropologist, trained at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, in social theories of space, culture, and power as well as uneven development by David Harvey and the late Neil Smith. My research in postcolonial and comparative urbanism investigates planning imaginaries as a form of thinking about what it means to live together in the city and as a central determination of the conditions of possibility and impossibility of city life. I interrogate the political nature of developmentalism in South Asia, and the ways it conceptualizes and orders urban life, as a method of uncovering layers of meaning, conflict, and action presently suffusing and interrupting urban modes of development and governance.
Informed by a historical approach to the contemporary form and meaning of city life, my research on urbanism addresses the temporality of city life; value and difference in urban lifeworlds; popular imaginaries and movements; territorial contestations and state spatialities; and uneven urban histories of informality.
My archival and fieldwork is based in Mumbai, where I participated as a researcher and activist in various urban campaigns and pedagogic initiatives. My ethnographic work is broadly shaped by contemporary grassroots initiatives addressing housing and labor informality, state space, and planning in Mumbai, a city concatenated in its deep cultures of popular mobilization as well as many forms of domination and hierarchy.
I am currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Stockton University. I have previously taught media history and design through the politics of print publishing in the School of Art, Media, and Technology at the Parsons School of Design; urban theory and history in the Design and Urban Ecologies and Theory of Urban Practice masters programs at Parsons The New School for Design; and have taught comparative global urbanism at Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies.
I am also founding publisher and editor of Common Notions, an independent publishing house and programming platform that explores the cultural and material histories, and collective imaginaries, of the rich world of social and political movements.