Radhika Govindrajan (She/her/hers)

Associate Professor

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Ph.D., Anthropology, Yale University 2013
M.A. History, Jawaharlal Nehru University, 2006

I am a cultural anthropologist who works across the fields of multispecies ethnography, environmental anthropology, gender and sexuality, the anthropology of religion, South Asian Studies, and political anthropology.

My first book Animal Intimacies (University of Chicago Press, 2018; Penguin Random House India 2019) is an ethnography of multispecies relatedness in the Central Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in India. It was awarded the 2017 American Institute of Indian Studies Edward Cameron Dimock Prize in the Indian Humanities; the 2019 Gregory Bateson Prize, by the Society for Cultural Anthropology; and an Honorable Mention for the 2021 Diana Forsythe Prize, jointly awarded by the Society for the Anthropology of Work and the Committee for the Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Computing. The Indian edition was awarded the 2020 Green Lit Fest Honour for General Fiction and Nonfiction and longlisted for the 2020 Kamala Devi Chattopadhyaya Book Prize. Animal Intimacies is an ethnography of the myriad symbolic, material, and affective relationships that villagers in the Central Himalayas have with a variety of nonhuman animals. It explores how this relatedness is shaped by wider issues and contexts including colonialism, rural-urban migration, changing religious practices, wildlife conservation, and the politics of gender.

I am currently working on two research projects. The first, a book tentatively titled Sex and the Village: Scandals and the Nature of Rurality in Contemporary India, explores how scandals around changing sexual identities and practices in rural Uttarakhand provided an occasion for people to offer multiple, often conflicting, theories about the changing nature of rurality and the rural. The second project is concerned with the relationship between elections and broader social life, and examines how electoral discourses and practices and ordinary forms of sociality shape each other in rural and small-town Uttarakhand.


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