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 urbanism, environmental justice, and global health through the lenses of urban geography, anticaste theory, 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 environmental justice invested in antiracist and anticaste politics. I come to this work recognizing that my positionality is one of caste and class privilege. At the same time, I have witnessed how radical perspectives and social justice scholarship authored by Brown and Black scholars are marginalized and delegitimized in mainstream, western academia. With this outsider-insider and center-periphery positioning, I seek to develop ethical, collaborative, and self-reflexive modes of allyship and analysis, however imperfect. Read more on my positionality and research ethics under the Research tab.
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 environmental injustices? (2) How do dominant groups reproduce and defend environmental and spatial privileges based on caste, race, and class? (3) How and why do marginalized groups contest environmental injustices and to what ends? Empirically, I study struggles surrounding water and sanitation, land and housing, and flooding and climate change vulnerability in India (largely Bengaluru) and the US (largely Washington, DC).
I am currently working on a book project, Anticaste Political Ecology: Land, Labor, and Environmental Justice in Bengaluru, on how the interlocking dynamics of corporate power, brahminism, Hindutva neoliberalism, and exclusionary property and labor regimes reproduce environmental injustices or “environmental unfreedoms.” In it, I consider the potential for legal and anticaste and Ambedkarite activism to disrupt urban injustices perpetuated by economic and caste power. Through reading anticaste archives, I argue that transnational anticaste and antiracist solidarities matter greatly for radical, humanist, and internationalist reenvisionings of environmental justice. 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.
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.***