Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia

POSTPONED - Akhil Gupta — Changing Relations Between the State and Rural India

Friday, December 2, 2022

2:00pm - 4:00pm EST


Akhil Gupta is a sociocultural anthropologist currently working on questions of transnational capitalism, infrastructure, and corruption. Gupta is a Research Affiliate, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) at UCLA, where he also serves as the director of the Center for India and South Asia. He has been researching call centers in India since 2009. His projects have led him from studying agriculture to state development agencies to multinational corporations. He is interested in the themes of contemporary capitalism, development, postcoloniality, globalization, and the state. Gupta's empirical research interrogates anthropological and social theory from its margins by paying attention to the experience of peasants and other groups of poor people in India. Combining cultural and sociological analyses of institutions and social life with questions raised by postcolonial theory, Gupta uses rigorous and intensive ethnographic research as a basis to rethink some major questions in social theory dealing with space, place, and temporality. He employs anthropology’s traditional emphasis on a deep understanding of a place or people as a vantage point from which to critique and expand received ideas in social theory. His interest in these themes is complemented by sustained attention to the rethinking and renewal of anthropological methods.

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