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, shortlisted for the 2021 Publishing Next Printed Book of the Year Award, 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, right-wing nationalism, 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 sex scandals 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.
- Govindrajan, Radhika. 2023. "Spectral Justice". In The Promise of Multispecies Justice, eds. by Sophie Chao, Karin Bolender, and Eben Kirksey. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
- Govindrajan, Radhika. 2022. "Spectral Justice". In The Promise of Multispecies Justice, eds. by Sophie Chao, Karin Bolender, and Eben Kirksey. Durham, Duke University Press.
- 2021. "Labors of Love: On the Political Economies and Ethics of Bovine Politics in Himalayan India." Cultural Anthropology, 36 (2), pp: 193-221.
- (with Cassie Adcock). 2019. Bovine Politics in South Asia: Rethinking Religion, Law, and Ethics. South Asia: The Journal of South Asian Studies: 1-13.
- 2018. Electoral Ripples: The Social Life of Lies and Mistrust in an Indian Village Election. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 8 (1/2): 129-143
- 2016. "Flatulence". Theorizing The Contemporary, Fieldsights. Cultural Anthropology Website (July 12) (Reprinted in Howe, Cymene and Anand Pandian, eds. Anthropocene Unseen: A Lexicon, Punctum Books, 2020)
- 2016. "Adulterous Dotiyal or Protector of the Oppressed? Modernity and the Reframing of Ganganath's Itihas in Uttarakhand." In Sijapati, Megan Adamson and Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz, eds. Religion and Modernity in the Himalaya. New York: Routledge, 2016.
- 2015. "“The Goat That Died for Family”: Animal Sacrifice and Interspecies Kinship in India's Central Himalayas." American Ethnologist 42.3: 504-19. [Winner, Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship Award, General Anthropology Division]
- 2015. "Monkey Business." Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 35.2: 246-62. [Winner, Junior Scholar Award, Anthropology and Environment Society]
- 2015. ""The Man-eater Sent by God": Unruly Interspecies Intimacy in India's Central Himalayas." Unruly Environments. Ed. Siddharta Krishnan, Christopher L. Pastore, and Samuel Temple. RCC Perspectives, Vol. 3. n.p: 33-38. Print.
- 2014. "How to be Hindu in the Himalayas: Conflicts over Animal Sacrifice in Uttarakhand". In Rangarajan, Mahesh and K. Sivaramakrishnan, eds. Shifting Ground: People, Animals, and Mobility in India's Environmental History. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
- Govindrajan, Radhika. 2018. Animal Intimacies: Interspecies Relatedness in India's Central Himalayas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- J. Shelby House. "Viral Ethnographies: Humans, Animals, and One Health Governance in a Zoonotic Age.” Review essay of Rabies in the Streets: Interspecies Camaraderie in Urban India by Deborah Nadal and Viral Economies: Bird Flu Experiments in Vietnam by Natalie Porter. Anthropological Quarterly 93(4): 767-778.
- Quantro-Plaga, Eugenio. Religious Fluidity in India. 2018
- Trembley, Kyle. Rattus Hierarchicus: Affect, Caste, and Human-Rat Relationships in Rajasthan. Pilot Research. 2018.