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Indrajit worked in the development sector for seven years prior to undertaking his doctoral studies at the University of Oxford. Since obtaining a doctorate in development studies, he has held the ESRC Future Research Leader Fellowship at the Oxford Department of International Development (ODID) as well as a Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. His research and teaching contribute to critical approaches to studying the politics of global development, with a focus on ‘new development futures’ that promise to reframe the discipline.
Accredited as a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Indrajit has innovated teaching and curriculum design over the last several years of his academic life. He won a Teaching Excellence Award at the University of Oxford in 2016. Since joining the University of York in 2017, he is working with colleagues to diversify and decolonise the departmental curriculum.
Indrajit’s outreach beyond academia includes contributions to the BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking, The Conversation, The Hindustan Times, Global Policy, The Economic Times, and Open Democracy among others.
He welcomes enquiries on: The Rising Powers and global development; State-society relations and citizenship in the BRICS; South Asian politics.
Indrajit researches and teaches the politics of ‘new development futures’, where development is understood broadly as an ensemble of practices, processes and possibilities that encompass economic change and social transformation. His work illustrates the profound ways in which agents in the Global South disrupt prevailing understandings of development. By going beyond Eurocentric and elite-centric narratives, this work opens new debates for critical explorations of development. This in turn shapes growing efforts at diversifying and decolonising the field, making development studies a global discipline.
First, as Principle Investigator of an ESRC/ EqUIP-funded project titled ‘Citizenship futures’, Indrajit contributes to unsettle the North-South binary that has hitherto attenuated a global understanding of development by convening collaborative and comparative ethnographies among socially excluded people in Mumbai, London and Paris. Such an approach departs from dominant understandings of development as a collection of ideas, institutions and practices innovated in the Global North and imposed on the Global South.
Second, Indrajit’s research directs attention to poor people’s political subjectivities through ethnographic and historical-institutional exploration of such themes as ‘hope’, ‘dignity’ and ‘citizenship’: themes central to his previously held ESRC Future Research Leaders (FRL) Fellowship. That work built on his monograph Politics of the poor: Negotiating democracy in contemporary India, published by Cambridge University Press in 2018. Insights from both studies inform the Reimagining Citizenship: The politics of India’s amended citizenship laws project, in which Indrajit leads a team of academics, activists, film-makers and poets to explore the contests around the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India, a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Such explorations challenge the overwhelming focus in the development studies discipline on policy, business and social elites.
Third, Indrajit is reflecting on the growing role of Global South actors in global development in his emerging research on the so-called “Rising Powers”, with a specific focus on their underlying state-society complexes.
One project this program explores the political dynamics of Chinese investments in Europe and their implications for the future of the Liberal International Order. This project has been nurtured by a combination of university research priming funds at York (2019) and a ‘Pushing the Boundaries’ grant by the Political Studies Association (2018).
A second project, supported by an ESRC Impact Acceleration Account’ (2017), comparatively examines the state-society complexes that underpin emerging infrastructural corridors in India and Brazil.
A third project explores India’s role in multilateral development partnerships in Eurasia and Africa. This project, which entails a comparison of India’s involvement in the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC), is funded by the India-UK Development Partnership Forum.
This research program contributes to the growing body of work which reorients development studies away from dominant narratives of aid, trade and investments from the Global North “developing” the Global South.
For more details on Indrajit’s research, please see his personal homepage.
Politics of the poor
Indrajit reviews regularly for academic journals and book publishers. He is also invited to review proposals for research funding bodies such as Economic and Social Research Council. He has been invited to deliver lectures and talks in several universities and organisations across the world. Recent activities include his role as a discussant for a Webinar on Universalisation on Health Care in the Emerging Economies. He was also interviewed by the Indian media to comment on recent policy changes on social policy with far-ranging implications for the rights and entitlements of internal labour migrants in that country.
Two articles in Hindustan Times:
Indrajit has previously been invited to discuss the OECD report titled Perspectives on Global Development: International Migration in a Shifting World, held in Paris in January 2016.
Dr Indrajit Roy
Department of Politics and International Relations
University of York
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