Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Bhrigupati Singh

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Biography

Bhrigupati Singh completed his PhD in anthropology at Johns Hopkins University in 2010 and is currently an assistant professor of anthropology at Brown, a faculty fellow at the Watson Institute and joint associate director of the Center for Contemporary South Asia.

He has published numerous articles on issues of religion, politics, media, and popular culture, in journals including Cultural Anthropology, American Ethnologist, and Contributions to Indian Sociology. His recent book, titled Poverty and the Quest for Life: Spiritual and Material Striving in Rural India (University of Chicago Press, 2015; Oxford University Press – South Asia 2015), was awarded the Joseph Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences, the Award for Excellence in the study of religion (analytic-descriptive) by the American Academy of Religion, and was a finalist for the Clifford Geertz Book Prize. He is the co-editor of The Ground Between: Anthropological Engagements with Philosophy (Duke University Press, 2014), and serves as an associate editor of HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory. His recent co-edited collection, A Joyful History of Anthropology was published by HAU in December 2016.  

This year he will continue a newer and emerging set of projects: a book of essays on philosophical and literary concepts of vitalism and its relation to anthropological understandings of everyday life, titled Waxing and Waning Life, and a new anthropological monograph on urban poverty, mental health, drug addiction, and collective violence, set in the “resettlement colony” of Trilokpuri in East Delhi. This monograph grows out of a year of research he conducted over the past academic year, with grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the American Institute of American Studies, based at the Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS, Delhi). In collaboration with psychiatrists at AIIMS, he is in the process of creating a consortium for longitudinal research on issues of mental health and urban poverty. He is an Associate Director (alongside Leela Gandhi) and a member of the steering committee of the Brown Center for Contemporary South Asia.