Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Bhrigupati Singh

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Areas of Interest: Power and inequality, religious and secular modes of aspiration, rural poverty in South Asia, anthropology of religion and ethics, political theologies, critical theory/continental philosophy.


Bhrigupati Singh completed his PhD in anthropology at Johns Hopkins University in 2010 and is currently an assistant professor of anthropology at Brown and a faculty fellow at the Watson Institute.

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 Contemporary Rural India (University of Chicago Press, 2015), was awarded the Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences. 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. 

This year he will continue a newer and emerging set of projects: a book of essays with the working title What Comes After Postcolonial Theory?, and a longer-term ethnographic research project that grows out of his PhD research in north and central India, on religious and secular forms of healing for “common mental health disorders” in urban north India, specifically focusing on the urban poor, and on anxiety disorders as a window into contemporary India. He will be on research leave for the academic year 2015-2016, conducting this ethnography based in Delhi, with grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (2015) and the American Institute of American Studies (2016).