Welcome to my website! I am an associate professor in the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC, where I teach graduate and undergraduate courses on global urban politics and environmental justice through the lenses of Marxian geography, anticaste theory, and decolonial and critical race theory. I am also a faculty affiliate of AU’s Metropolitan Policy Center in the School of Public Affairs, the Department of Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies, and the Antiracist Research and Policy Center
Most broadly, I am a scholar of urban social and environmental justice. I am interested in the political economy of labour, land, and water and stormwater infrastructure. As a critical urban geographer trained in qualitative and spatial research methodology, I am motivated by three central questions: (1) What are the root causes of urban spatial and environmental injustices? (2) How do dominant/oppressor groups reproduce and defend privileges based on caste, race, and class? (3) How and why do marginalized groups contest spatial, ecological, and labor injustices and to what ends? Empirically, I study urban political and ecological struggles in India (largely Bengaluru) and the U.S. (largely Washington, DC).
I am currently working on a collaborative book project with Isaac Arul Selva and Siddharth K.J, both scholar-activists in Bengaluru, Caste-ing the City: Land, Labor, and Social Justice in Bengaluru. The book traces histories of caste and space in the city, and studies how the interlocking of corporate power, brahminism, and Hindutva neoliberalism reproduces exclusionary and extractive property and labour regimes. In it, we consider the potential for legal, anticaste, and union activism to disrupt injustices perpetuated by economic and caste power. For a recent article published in Ethnic and Racial Studies, please click here (republished with corrections on August 18, 2021).
I am also a recipient of an American Council of Learned Societies-Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant for a collaborative book project that weaves together literary criticism and critical geography, Corruption Plots: Stories, Ethics, and Publics of the Late Capitalist City. For more on this book, forthcoming with Cornell University Press, please check out the ACLS tab.
Finally, I study environmental racism in the US. I have been conducting research in Washington, DC’s Ward 7 on climate injustice, housing segregation, and deep histories of environmental toxicity. You can see an an interview I did on for American University here. My recent coauthored work has called for an abolitionist approach to climate justice. This work was featured on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU 88.5 on NPR in September 2019.
Prior to coming to American University, I was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy initiative at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, based out of the Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science. I received a Master’s and PhD from the Energy and Resources Group (ERG) at the University of California, Berkeley with a Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies.
Please browse my research and publications to learn more.
***Credit for the banner art on my home page goes to the incredible feminist artist, Vidushi Yadav.***