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SIAS Green Impact Team goes GOLD!

16 June 2016

On Wednesday 15th June, the University’s Environmental Sustainability Team invited us all to the Blavatnik School of Government for their annual Sustainability Showcase.

We are proud to announce that the School’s Green Impact Team were presented with a Gold award – the highest accolade possible within the Green Impact scheme.

The Showcase is an opportunity to distribute awards to the numerous Green Impact teams and others involved in sustainability practices for their achievements over the past year and this year’s event was described by Professor William James, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources) as “the biggest celebration of social and environmental actions…at Oxford University ever” joining together the Sustainability Awards and the Social Impact Awards for the very first time.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson said “There really is an extraordinary amount of work taking place in the University, both within the Departments and most particularly across them, which is really very exciting.”

The evening itself not only gave us the chance to celebrate our achievements, but also to take part in a tour of the recently opened Blavatnik School of Government at the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter. The building was designed and built with energy efficiency and sustainability targets at the fore and is expected to consume 49% less energy in comparison to existing UK buildings of the same size and usage. It has received a “BREEAM Excellent”* rating and incorporates a multitude of environmental systems in its design.

After the awards, we were all able to celebrate with a glass of sparkling wine and canapes from a local sustainable menu.

We would like to express our great thanks to the Environmental Sustainability Team for all of their support in helping us and other Green Impact teams achieve our goals over the past year and for organising such a wonderful event; we can’t wait to start again next term!

If you are a member of the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, staff or student, and would be interested in finding out more about the initiative or being part of the team, please contact us for details:



Kate Sullivan de Estrada: How Modi’s Nuclear Agenda Matters for Mexico

8 June 2016

Dr Kate Sullivan de Estrada and Dr Gilberto Estrada Harris have co-authored a piece on why the Indian Prime Minister will have a tough time convincing Mexico to support India's bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group published in The Diplomat today. To read the full online article click here.

Interview with Barbara Harriss-White in The New Indian Express to mark International Women's Day

8 March 2016

Another interview with Barbara Harriss-White to mark International Women's Day appears on page 2 of the New Indian Express (Mon 7 March) under the title "Oxford Prof's Tryst with Arni That Sparked a Lifelong Romance".  To read the article, click here.

Interview with Barbara Harriss-White

7 March 2016

Read the interview with Barbara Harriss-White in here

Barbara Harriss-White's recent book mentioned in The Hindu article

7 March 2016

Barbara Harriss-White's book: "Dalits and Adivasis in India’s Business Economy: Three Essays and an Atlas" is mentioned in an article in The Hindu. Click here to read the article.

CSASP Students interviewed on IBN about the Indian Budget

1 March 2016

Sanjay Suri, interviews students from the LSE and Oxford's Contemporary South Asia Studies Programme about the Indian budget.  Prof Matthew McCartney also makes an appearance.  The broadcast can be viewed here and the Oxford section starts approx 11 mins in.

Sanjay was a visiting research associate at CSASP earlier in Hilary Term.

CSASP Thursday Football, with George Kunnath

26 February 2016

Activities in the MSc. in Contemporary India programme often go beyond the classroom and in some cases, to the football pitch...

A friendly football match with George Kunnath on Thursdays has also become a part of the weekly timetable, giving the students a much-needed chance to stretch their legs outside of academic activities.

CSASP Alumna Bhumi Purohit works with J-PAL South Asia on Finance Reform

26 February 2016

2014-2015 Alumna Bhumi Purohit has been working with J-PAL South Asia to scale up results from a study on finance reform in Bihar throughout all central government schemes. The study called for the removal of intermediary layers for moving funds from the Central government to end beneficiaries or vendors. Recently, the 2016-2017 Economic Survey picked up on the work in Box 3.1with some attention from India's Chief Economic Advisor, Arvind Subramanian.

'Big Thinkers Lunch' Hilary Term 2016

26 February 2016

The Big Thinker's Lunch is another facet of the Contemporary India programme, where the major thinkers who helped shape the dominant theorizing in our field of the Social Sciences are discussed over lunch, with all the staff of the programme in attendance.

Wolfson College Junior Research Fellowship

2 February 2016

Wolfson College, Oxford University are advertising a three-year stipendiary (paid) Junior Research Fellowship (three years of paid research time) in the social sciences of contemporary South Asia.

The closing date for applications is 14th March 2016.

Please see the full advert in the below pdf and visit the Wolfson College website.


STAIR Call for Papers

2 February 2016

St Antony's International Review are seeking submissions of papers from diverse disciplines in Anthropology, Area Studies, Development Studies, Economics, Geography, International Relations, Migration and Refugee Studies, Political Science, Religious Studies and others on the topic "Home, Displacement and Belonging".

Abstracts of 500 words should be submitted by March 15th 2016.

Please see the full call in the below pdf.


The International Seminar on Agriculture and Rural India after Economic Reforms

29 January 2016

Professor Barbara Harriss-White is speaking today (January 29th 2016) at the International Seminar on Agriculture and Rural India after Economic Reforms in Chennai.

Her lecture is entitled Provisioning Chennai: Labour in the Supply Chain.

Barbara Harriss-White at Madras University

29 January 2016

Professor Barbara Harriss-White has given the keynote speech at the centenary celebrations of the Department of Economics at Madras University. The department was started by Gilbert Slater in 1916. During his tenure, Slater managed a detailed survey of the villages in the Madras Presidency and analyzed the prevailing economic conditions as part of his effort to eradicate poverty in the area.

Scholarship opportunity for Pakistan visit

27 January 2016

This week, CSASP and Wolfson College have welcomed two PhD students form the Lahore School of Economics as part of a one month scholarship visit. We were fortunate enough to be involved with the organisation of this exchange for the first time last year,2015, and hope that it will become an annual ocurrence.

We are now seeking applications from Oxford students who would wish to be part of the return leg of the visit. We have full funding for four students to visit Lahore for one week between the 24th and 31st March 2016. The funding includes flights, accommodation, entertainment and tours of Lahore. The visit will enable Oxford students to interact with staff and students at the Lahore School of Economics, attend the Annual Economics Conference on the 30th-31st March (Please see full schedules below), and, depending on your research interests, present a seminar.

We are opening this invitation to students with a very general background in the social sciences, who are currently researching an area of potential interest to the staff and students of the Lahore School, or whose future research plans may turn towards Pakistan.

Preference will be given to students who would not otherwise get the opportunity to visit Pakistan. Students holding Indian passports are more than welcome to apply. 

If you are interested or have any questions, please send your C.V. and a 4-500 word outline of your research interests by 15th February 2016 to

Photo courtesy of Kiron Neale, Linacre College

Documentary Screenings as part of the MSc in Contemporary India

21 December 2015

As part of an termly tradition, students of the Msc in Contemporary India programme have a documentary screening every term. Normally under the title ‘Depressing Documentary Evening’, which matches the mood that documentaries about India tend to follow, this occassion saw a livelier screening of ’Supermen of Malegaon’ - a heartening tale about the can-do filmmakers in the small town of Malegaon who make desi versions of Hollywood superhero films.

Tears were replaced by laughter, and the discussion afterwards spanned both faculty and students. There is no limit to the time that one can discuss a well-made documentary for and that day saw no exception. All in all, it was a great and bond-making memory for Michaelmas Term.

Time to Say Goodbye to IMF? An article by Rashid Amjad

21 December 2015

Read Rashid Amjad's latest article Time to say goodbye to the IMF? published in Dawn. Dr Amjad is Professor of Economics and Director of the Graduate Institute of Development Studies at Lahore School of Economics and is a regular visitor to the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme.

Professor Barbara Harriss-White at SOAS

9 December 2015

Barbara Harriss-White’s Globalisation lecture, given at SOAS, argues first that climate change – with the complications we observe in Paris – is actually reductionist. Gaseous pollution is but one of many natural cycles and processes that are now dangerously disturbed by human activity. Second she argues that since just 90 companies have produced 2/3 of the world-historical green-house gases, their regulation is as important as – if not more so than – agreements between states over emissions targets.

Read more in our 'Work in Progress' papers (WP21).

Alumni Publications - Shriya Misra

19 November 2015

Read MSc CI alumna Shriya Misra's article on Chinese investment in India in the Indian foreign policy journal Global Dialogue Review. Shriya graduated from the MSc in Contemporary India in 2014 and is now focussing on a career in Law.

SIAS Student Party 2015 - Victorious LAC

10 November 2015

The first cross-unit SIAS student party took place in May 2014, in a very small seminar room, thanks to the unpredictable (or should that be predictable?) English weather. There was a great turnout and we have been able to build on this experience to ensure that each year students from all units have the opportunity to attend. Since the first party, we have decided not to fight the weather and have found a great indoor venue in the shape of the Student Common Room at the Dickson Poon China Centre, where our MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies is housed. This is a great, modern venue, giving us both the space and the cover that we need, also very useful with the move to early Michaelmas Term.  

This year, the party conveniently fell on Bonfire Night, lending us the theme of "National Celebrations". Students came in national dress and brought tantalising treats from their countries of study and created the greatest competition yet for the award of "Best Table".

It was a close-run thing, but the Latin American Centre were victorious, after making a huge effort hand-making many of the decorations for their table, with African Studies in second place. Some photos from the event can be seen in the image gallery below.

Thank you to all the staff and students who came along and made it a really fun evening!



CSASP Students at the Ashmolean

10 November 2015

The Ashmolean's University Engagement Programme is entering its fourth year and 2015 sees the third year of subscription by CSASP and the MSc in Contemporary India. One aim of the Programme is to introduce the facilities and exhibits to people who would usually not use them as a resource for their learning or research. CSASP believe that they are an invaluable experience for our students who have the chance to reflect beyond the boundaries of their MSc and to consider the often far-reaching influences of a selection of exhibits across eras and continents.

Mallica Kumbera Landrus, Andrerw W. Mellon Teaching Curator at the Museum, gave our students a warm welcome, as usual, for their first visit of the academic year and student response to the visit was enthusiastic.

We would like to extend our thanks to Mallica and the Ashmolean for presenting this exciting programme and we look forward to visiting again later in the year! 


Photos courtesy of Varun Ramesh Balan and Kathiravan Muthu MSc CI 2015-16

Rajiv Gandhi University playing host to the Annual NEEA Conference

30 October 2015

The 17th Annual Conference of North Eastern Economic Association (NEEA) is being held at Rajiv Gandhi University, Rono Hills on October 30 and 31.

The major theme of deliberations is Labour Market Issues with special reference to northeast India and Issues in Health Economics in the region.

The Conference will provide an opportunity to young researchers and teachers from this remote part of the country to get exposure to good discourse and lectures by reputed economists and policy makers of the country.

CSASP's Prof Barbara Harriss-White, is delivering the inaugural address on 'Questioning work and wellbeing in the informal economy' and also a special lecture on the second day of the conference.

More than 100 scholars from different parts of North East and the country are expected to participate in the conference, organised by the University's Department of Economics.

India Social Development Report 2014

14 October 2015

The Council for Social Development will be releasing their publication India Social Development Report 2014: Challenges of Public Health on Thursday October 15th, 2015, at the India International Centre, New Delhi.

The report is edited by Imrana Qadeer and published by Oxford University Press.


Dr Kate Sullivan at Boston University

14 October 2015

Kate Sullivan featured in a workshop and panel discussion on the theme of Modi's foreign policy at Boston University's Pardee School of Global Studies on 7 October.

Full details of the event can be found on their website.

Journal of South Asian Studies: Free Articles

13 October 2015

A number of articles have been specially selected by Kama Maclean, Editor of South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, to be free to view until 31st December 2015. Included in the selection is an article by CSASP's Dr Kate Sullivan - Exceptionalism in Indian Diplomacy: The Origins of India's Moral Leadership Aspirations. See the full list and access all articles on the Journal's webpage.





Contemporary Pakistan: A talk by Professor Matthew McCartney

13 October 2015

Professor McCartney will today be speaking at the English-Speaking Union on the topic of Contemporary Pakistan. This follows on from his appearance last year, focussing on India. The talk takes place at 12.30 today at the Sharnbrook Hotel in Bedford. Full details can be found on the English-Speaking Union's website.

The politics of waste management

7 October 2015

Read Professor Barbara Harriss-White's latest article in The Hindu.

The Malangs South Asia Essay Prizewinner 2015 is....

30 September 2015

Bhumi Purohit, MSc Contemporary India 2014-15.

Our congratulations go out to Bhumi - you can read her essay below.

Great reviews for Mapping India's Capitalism

30 September 2015

Read reviews for this collection of essays, edited by Barbara Harriss-White, Elisabetta Basile and Christine Lutringer on the Palgrave Macmillan website - you can buy your own copy here too!

A new publication from Dr Clarinda Still

21 August 2015

Read all about Dr Still's latest publication Dalit Women: Honour and Patriarchy on South India in The Hindu newspaper. You can also buy the book on Amazon.

Economic Growth and Development: A Comparative Introduction by Professor Matthew McCartney

20 August 2015

Professor McCartney's latest book Economic Growth and Development: A Comparative Introduction is published by Palgrave Macmillan.

"Widening economic inequalities across the globe today can be understood as the historical consequences of different drivers of growth. This important new text examines the proximate factors of labour, capital and productivity across a range of countries, as well as deeper explanations, from geographical and cultural factors, to colonialism, institutions and the openness of markets and borders. It considers these variables, their effects on rates of growth, and how differing rates of growth will enhance or constrain a country's development.

The author makes the case that long-standing inequalities between countries should be the primary focus for academic study, and that development plans should be produced on a case-by-case basis, reflecting the individual circumstances of countries and regions. Using a wide range of historical and contemporary examples, he highlights the blind spots and assumptions that are liable to compromise the priorities and actions of policy-makers, and provides a route towards effective economic reform and sustained development."


Middle India and Urban-Rural Development, Edited by Barbara Harriss-White

31 July 2015

Middle India and Rural-Urban Development explores the socio-economic conditions of an ‘India’ that falls between the cracks of macro-economic analysis, sectoral research and micro-level ethnography. Its focus, the ‘middle India’ of small towns, is relatively unknown in scholarly terms for good reason: it requires sustained and difficult field research. But it is where most Indians either live or constantly visit in order to buy and sell, arrange marriages and plot politics. Anyone who wants to understand India therefore needs to understand non-metropolitan, provincial, small-town India and its economic life. This book meets this need. From 1973 to the present, Barbara Harriss-White has watched India’s development through the lens of an ordinary town in northern Tamil Nadu, Arni. This book provides a pluralist, multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary perspective on Arni and its rural hinterland. It grounds general economic processes in the social specificities of a given place and region. In the process, continuity is juxtaposed with abrupt change. A strong feature of the book is its analysis of how government policies that fail to take into account the realities of small town life in India have unintended and often perverse consequences.

In this unique book, Harriss-White brings together ten essays written by herself and her research team on Arni and its surrounding rural areas. They track the changing nature of local business and the workforce; their urban-rural relations, their regulation through civil society organizations and social practices, their relations to the state and to India’s accelerating and dynamic growth. That most people live outside the metropolises holds for many other developing countries and makes this book, and the ideas and methods that frame it, highly relevant to a global development audience. 

For more details and to make a purchase, visit the Springer website.

Great Results at Wolfson College's WIN Pitch Event

13 May 2015

Bhumi Purohit, a M.Sc. student in the Contemporary India Studies program (2014-15), recently co-presented a business plan for H2Ox at Wolfson College's WIN Pitch event. H2Ox's aim is to implement solar powered, village-level purification systems to provide safe drinking water to rural communities. Using an innovative ion removal technology to purify water, one purifier system will be able to provide up to 1.2 million litres of safe drinking water to a community of approximately 800 people at low costs. H2Ox won the £1000 runner-up award at the Pitch event, and is working with Indian organisations to deliver a pilot test in Karnataka, India to understand its viability in a low-income community. H2Ox's vision is to evolve our project into a social enterprise to provide safe water to communities in need. Our congratulations go out to all involved.

India under Narendra Modi: Reconsidering Indian foreign policy

12 May 2015

On Monday, 4 May, Dr Kate Sullivan’s workshop, India under Narendra Modi: Reconsidering Indian foreign policy (co-convened with Professor Manjari Chatterjee Miller of Boston University), united leading scholars in St Antony’s College to debate and discuss the antecedents, possible directions, and likely global impact of India's foreign policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The interactive workshop was funded by the John Fell Fund, and a second workshop, building on the first, will be held at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston in October. A special journal issue is scheduled to collate the research outputs of both workshops in September 2016.

Dr George Kunnath shortlisted for the OUSU Teaching Awards

7 May 2015

The Oxford University Student Union Teaching Awards shortlist for 2015 has been published this week and we are excited to see that Dr George Kunnath has been shortlisted in the Outstanding Supervisor category.

We would like to pass our congratulations to Dr Kunnath and all of the nominees, along with our thanks to everyone who voted.

Good luck George - we can't wait to hear the results later this month!

The IIR and CSASP exchange 2015

21 April 2015

CSASP students are currently gearing up for a visit to to the Institute of International Relations, University of Warsaw, from May 12th to 15th. This is the return portion of an exchange plan between the two departments which saw IIR students and staff visit Area Studies in March this year.

Whist visiting Oxford, the group attended the event 'Rising India: Status and Power' which was jointly organised by CSASP and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU, Singapore. In addition, they participated in a joint seminar on India's foreign and economic policy and students from both departments took the opportunity to present their current research. Of course, it was also necessary to include some visits to local attractions, such as the local pub!

CSASP students and staff really enjoyed the visit and some interesting conversations were started, which we hope will continue in May.

Some photos from the Oxford visit can be found in the gallery below and we look forward to hearing more from our CSASP students on their return from Warsaw.

Latest Alumni Publications - Ram Mashru, MSc CI 2012-2013

17 April 2015

Read Ram Mashru's chapter in this book on human rights in India, edited and published by Amnesty International's Strategic Studies division.

Ram's essay addresses a paradox at the centre of India's normative foreign policy: how can we square India's growing influence as a provider of overseas development assistance with its continued reluctance to promote rights abroad?

The book features contributions by both practitioners and academics, from within India and abroad, including Meenakshi Ganguly (South Asia Director at Human Rights Watch), Sanjoy Banerjee (Professor of International Relations at San Francisco University) and C. Raja Mohan (Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation).  

Ram graduated from the MSc in Contemporary India in 2013, with distinction, and currently works as an international affairs consultant at Oxford Analytica. His bookHuman InSecurity: Fear, Deprivation and Abuse in India, was published by The Diplomat in 2013. 

Introducing the Charles Wallace Trust Visiting Fellowship for Pakistan

10 March 2015

The Charles Wallace Pakistan Trust are offering sponsorship for one scholar or practitioner from Pakistan to visit the Department of Politics and International Relations for one Oxford term during the academic year 2015-16.

For further information, please see the pdf poster below.

Minoritarian Rule: An Article by Geoffrey Macdonald and Babak Moussavi

24 February 2015

Read the article Minoritarian Rule: How India's Electoral System Created the Illusion of a BJP Landslide in Economic and Political Weekly.This article was co-authored by Babak Moussavi who graduated from the MSc in Contemporary India in 2014.

Scholarship for Oxford Students to visit Lahore, Pakistan

11 February 2015

February 2015 sees the end of a very successful one month visiting scholarship for four PhD students from Pakistan hosted by Wolfson College and the Contemporary South Asia Programme in SIAS.  

We are now looking for three or four students from Oxford who would like to visit Lahore for one week between the 20th and 27th March, 2015.  The trip is fully funded, so will include flights, accommodation, entertainment, tours of Lahore and will enable Oxford students to interact with staff and students at the Lahore School of Economics, attend the Annual Economics Conference on the 26th-27th March, and depending on your research interests present a seminar.

We are opening this to students with a very general background in the social sciences who are currently researching an area of potential interest to the staff and students of the Lahore School or whose future research plans may turn towards Pakistan. Applicants who would otherwise not get the opportunity to visit Pakistan are particularly encouraged to apply.

More information on the Lahore School of Economics can be found on their website, along with a review of last year's conference, and the 2015 conference brief and draft schedule document is below.

If you are interested or have further questions please send your cv and a 4-500 word outline of your research interests to

Narendra Modi's Insurance Diplomacy: An Article by Sampad Patnaik

26 January 2015

Congratulations to Sampad Patnaik (MSC CI 2014-15) on the publication of his article "Narendra Modi's Insurance Diplomacy" in The Diplomat.

Sampad tells us:

Within India, Narendra Modi still keeps his distance from people. But since becoming PM, he has been hugging world leaders. For the first time, a sitting US president will be India's guest for Republic Day celebrations. Is Modi's personal touch in foreign affairs a form of "insurance diplomacy" against potential communal situations in India's future?



Welcome to our first Recognised Students from Lahore School of Economics

23 January 2015

On Monday January 19th,  CSASP welcomed our first four students from the Lahore School of Economics as part of the University's Recognised Student programme.

The students will be attending seminars and groups of interest across the Univeristy, whilst working on their PhDs.

CSASP are delighted to host them throughout their visit and hope that Rabia, Nida, Maryiam and Zunia will be the first of many students that we receive.

To read more, visit the LSE website

Research Excellence Framework: Area Studies

18 December 2014

SIAS and Oriental Studies are delighted to note that our REF2014 submission was the largest made to the Area Studies panel by a considerable margin. 

Moreover it was rated as the most impressive in terms of volume of material that was judged to be world leading (4*) - again by a considerable margin.  These results confirm the position of scholars in Oriental Studies and SIAS as being pre-eminent among those working in area studies in the UK.  They demonstrate the significance of our contribution to the understanding of the world beyond Europe and North America and to the global status of Oxford University.

Bjarke Frellesvig, Chair of the Oriental Studies Faculty Board
Ian Neary, Head of SIAS


Indian Capitalism in Development

17 December 2014

Indian Capitalism in Development, edited by Barbara Harriss-White and Judith Heyer is now available to buy from Routledge.


Recognising the different ways that capitalism is theorised, this book explores various aspects of contemporary capitalism in India. Using field research at a local level to engage with larger issues, it raises questions about the varieties and processes of capitalism, and about the different roles played by the state.

With its focus on India, the book demonstrates the continuing relevance of the comparative political economy of development for the analysis of contemporary capitalism. Beginning with an exploration of capitalism in agriculture and rural development, it goes on to discuss rural labour, small town entrepreneurs, and technical change and competition in rural and urban manufacturing, highlighting the relationships between agricultural and non-agricultural firms and employment. An analysis of processes of commodification and their interaction with uncommodified areas of the economy makes use of the ‘knowledge economy’ as a case study. Other chapters look at the political economy of energy as a driver of accumulation in contradiction with both capital and labour, and at how the political economy of policy processes regulating energy highlights the fragmentary nature of the Indian state. Finally, a chapter on the processes and agencies involved in the export of wealth argues that this plays a crucial role in concealing the exploitation of labour in India.

Bringing together scholars who have engaged with classical political economy to advance the understanding of contemporary capitalism in South Asia, and distinctive in its use of an interdisciplinary political economy approach, the book will be of interest to students and scholars of South Asian Politics, Political Economy and Development Studies.

Economic Challenges Before India's Muslims. An article by Ilma Afroz

17 December 2014

Click here to read the full article published first in - India based Global Insights & Analysis Sharing Platform, written by MSc CI Alumna Ilma Afroz.

After graduating from the MSc in Contemporary India in 2012, Ilma worked for the United Nations Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia and in the communications office of 42nd President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton at the Clinton Foundation in New York City.

Ilma is also the founder of "Hope", a community network based in her hometown Kundarki, District Moradabad in the north Indian State of Uttar Pradesh. Hope aims to help girls from marginalised backgrounds into schools, help them break glass ceilings and realise their true potential.

Oxford University: Beyond Knowledge

11 November 2014

Want to understand more about what it is like to set foot in Oxford for the first time as a graduate student? Read MSc in Contemporary India student Divya David's entertaining account in The Gulf Today

Another year and another great welcome from the Ashmolean

10 November 2014

Students on the MSc in Contemporary India were welcomed to the Ashmolean on October 21st for their first visit as part of the University Engagement Programme. This is the second year that the MSc has taken advantage of this opportunity and we would like to extend our thanks to Dr Mallica Kumbera Landrus for the engaging and entertaining presentation that she gave.

The University Engagement Programme was established in 2012 with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation to further the partnership between the Ashmolean and the University's faculties and to enhance the impact of cross-disciplinary teaching and learning through objects.

Feedback from the students who took part last year was extremely positive so we are thrilled to be able to make the same offer to this year's cohort.


The Role of India's Informal Economy

1 October 2014

Read Professor Barbara Harriss-White's latest article "The Role of India's Informal Economy" in the October issue of Yojana.

EP Release: Night Stories

1 October 2014

Night Stories, the debut EP from Rahul Advani (MSc CI 2011-12) is available now to download.

Find out more, listen and dowload at OK Listen and iTunes.

Spatial Variation in the "Muslim Vote" in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, 2014

30 September 2014

Congratulations to MSc CI Alumnus (2009-2010) and CSASP Associate Raphael Susewind on the publication of the article "Spatial Variation in the 'Muslim Vote' in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh 2014" in the journal Economic and Political Weekly. The article is co-authored with Raheel Dhattiwala, formerly of Nuffield College.

Raphael tells us:

"In this article, we demonstrate that Muslims' electoral choices vary a lot from constituency to constituency, implying that "vote banks" operate on a much more local level than hitherto assumed. We also explore a few factors that might shape this variation: minority concentration, riot history, and ethnic coordination."


Where does the moral dimension to India’s foreign policy come from? – A new journal article by CSASP’s Kate Sullivan

8 September 2014

Why has Indian diplomacy often been accused of carrying a ‘moralising tone’? Kate Sullivan’s new article in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies examines the roots of India's moral leadership aspirations in world affairs. She explores the discourses, identities and institutions that shaped Indian diplomacy and diplomatic institutions in the decades before and after Independence, and shows how Indian diplomats drew lines of comparison between their nation and others, understood India's global standing, and conceived of special moral responsibilities for India in world politics. Kate argues that moral leadership aspirations persist as one component of Indian foreign policy today. And she discusses the extent to which a historical and institutional analysis of diplomatic self-understandings can help our understanding of India's increasingly influential global role.

To access a free e-print of the article (numbers are limited), please contact the author.

The 2014 Barbara Harriss-White Dissertation Award

30 July 2014

Each year, CSASP awards the Barbara Harriss-White Dissertation Award to the writer of the most outstanding dissertation from the MSc in Contemporary India.

The students this year made it an extremely difficult task for the Examinations Board, with the high quality of work which was submitted.

We are delighted to announce that the winner of this year’s award is Anyusha Rose.

Her submission on Kerala’s human development paradox was judged to be of an excellent standard and was awarded an impressive mark by all of the examiners for the MSc in Contemporary India.

The dissertation can be read in full, along with a selection of other dissertations which also received distinctions, on the research pages of our website.


Congratulations Anyusha!



India's NGO Backlash - An article by Ram Mashru

24 July 2014

Read Ram Mashru's latest article on India's covert war against NGOs in Foreign Policy magazine.


Ram graduated from the MSc in Contemporary India in 2013, with distinction, and currently works as a South Asia Research Assistant at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. His eBook, Human InSecurity: Fear, Deprivation and Abuse in India, was published by The Diplomat in December 2013. 

Barbara Harriss-White's letter on Informal Economy

16 July 2014

The Hindu newspaper has today published a letter from Professor Barbara Harriss-White, discussing the commentary by Professor S. Gurumurthy on the implications of the budget for India's informal economy

Professor Harriss-White is a Senior Research Fellow at the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme and Emeritus Professor of Development Studies, University of Oxford.

The Malangs South Asia Essay Prize

16 June 2014

We are pleased to announce the launch of The Malangs South Asia Essay Prize 2014, generously sponsored by the Malangs Dining Society (founded 1962).

The essay should be focussed on some aspect of South Asia, from a current student in any academic department in Oxford up to 5,000 words in length.

The essay can but need need not have been already submitted for assessment.

The winner will be judged by a small inter-disciplinary panel of South Asianists and will be awarded £250 along with an invite to attend a prize dinner later this year.

Essays should be submitted to no later than June 28th.

Can pandas fix the China-India relationship?

11 June 2014

"Panda diplomacy is about far more than the transfer of a bear from one country to another." 

Dr Kate Sullivan and MSc in Contemporary India Student (2013-14) Liu Nan explore this activity in The Indian Express.

Lifelines: A Short Video Portrait from the Himalayas

4 June 2014

We are pleased to announce the release of a short (15 minute) video documentary, titled 'Lifelines'. This film is based on research carried out by the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford.

Dr Jane Dyson says of the film "this is one man's story of juggling responsibilities and fighting for dreams, both for himself and his community."


A Modi Landslide? Article by Babak Moussavi

2 June 2014

CSASP would like to congratulate current MSc in Contemporary India student, Babak Moussavi for his excellent analysis of the recent Indian elections A Modi Landslide? posted on the South Asia Masala website.

Warsaw Conference: India in International Relations

30 May 2014

A number of CSASP students, studying for the MSc in Contemporary India, organised a trip to Warsaw to attend the conference India in International Relations – Polish and European Experienceon May 22nd 2014, and to present their own theses to students attending the Centre for Contemporary India Research and Studies at the Institute of International Relations, University of Warsaw.

Professor Matthew McCartney and Dr George Kunnath were presenting at the conference on ‘Policy Priorities for India in 2014: the importance of comparison and history’ and ‘India’s Persisting Internal Conflict: The Maoist Insurgency and Counterinsurgency’ respectively.

The four-day visit started with a welcome tour of the University by Prof. Marta Kicińska-Habior, the Vice-Rector for Student Affairs and Quality of Teaching and Learning, this was followed by a drinks reception. The main conference event taking place on day two of their visit.

Day 3 gave the students the opportunity to take part in a student conference, where they were joined by MA and PhD students from Warsaw University to present and discuss their theses. This culminated in a roundtable dinner, focussing on the recent Indian elections.

There was still time for some fun on the trip with a whole day dedicated to sightseeing and a special mention has to be made to Warsaw student Anna Rochala, who took the group to visit the Jewish Uprising Museum.

Kieran Sandhur, one of six students who travelled to Warsaw said of the visit “Although the conference to Poland abounded from light-hearted, non-committal conversation with Dr. Zajaczkowsi (Deputy Director for Academic Research and International Cooperation at the Institute of International Relations) on his visit to Oxford earlier this year, our time there proved to be incredibly enriching- both academically and culturally.  We had the opportunity to listen to a variety of intellectuals speak about different aspects of India, including H.E. Mr Artur Nowak-Far, Undersecretary of State, H.E. Madame Monika Kapil Mohta, Ambassador of India to Poland, Prof. Subrata K. Mitra from Heidelberg University and Dr. Manish Thapa from Tribhuvan University to name a few. We also had the chance to present our own theses to scholars, which offered us insight from perspectives outside of our Oxford focus.” 

Speaking on behalf of the group, Kieran continued “We would like to say dziękuję to the University of Warsaw for their hospitality, especially to the students who shepherded us around Warsaw for three days, showing us the local joints and putting up with our “punctuality”.  We look forward to being able to reciprocate such kindness and hope this was just the beginning of a successful partnership between universities. “

The Visual Anthropology and Contemporary South Asian History Conference

13 May 2014

Kalyani Ramachandran (Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology), Ratika Yumman and Angela de Francisco, (current students on the MSc in Contemporary India), recently represented the University of Oxford in the Visual Anthropology and Contemporary South Asian History Conference held at Cambridge University. The conference, organized by the Centre of South Asian Studies, featured special contributions by Prof. Alan MacFarlane (University of Cambridge) and Prof. Elizabeth Edwards (De Montfort University). It hosted both international scholars and postgraduate students from different regions and disciplines to explore modern South Asian history through visual research methods.

Students attending this conference had the opportunity to join a pre-conference workshop dedicated to ‘Writing South Asian history with visual research methods’.  Prof. Marcus Banks and Dr Motrescu-Mayes advised on the methodology used by ten postgraduate history students who worked with unique visual records selected from the collections held by the CSAS. The research findings and short visual essays produced during the workshop were presented and discussed during a special conference panel chaired by Prof. Banks.

Angela de Francisco expressed her gratitude to Dr. Motrescu-Mayes for organizing and facilitating such a rewarding conference: “using visual research methods brings us closer to people’s experiences, help us to empathize with them and allow us to imagine their realities in a far more comprehensive way. I enjoyed all the panel sessions and I thank Dr. Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes for giving us this opportunity learn and interact in this conference.”

SIAS Student Party beats the bad weather blues!

13 May 2014

The first ever cross-unit SIAS student party was held on Thursday May 8th at Bevington Road. Despite the torrential rain driving the whole event inside, it didn't manage to dampen spirits. We had an amazing turnout with great contributions from SIAS units.

African Studies clinched the prize for the best table decorations however this was a close run competition with CSASP just missing out.

The prize for best food went deservedly to REES, with a special mention for the Georgian contribution.

A huge thank you to all students and staff who got involved so enthusiastically and let's hope this is the first of many!

The curious craze for political parties

12 May 2014

Pradipti Jayaram (MSc Contemporary India 2011-12) has published an article in the Hindu's Business Line online newspaper concerning political parties in India. For the full article, please see their website.

Is India a Responsible Nuclear Power? - A new Policy Report by CSASP's Kate Sullivan

28 April 2014

In a new policy report for the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, CSASP's Kate Sullivan finds that India's record on responsible nuclear behaviour is mixed, but an increasingly positive one.

Congratulations Devkaran!

14 March 2014

Devkaran Bhatty was part of the Oxford Blues team who took on Cambridge in the annual varsity squash match earlier this year. Although the team were beaten by Cambridge, CSASP staff and students would like to congratuate Dev on receiving the Oxford Man of the Match award!

Press Release - Informal Economy Missing from Climate Change Debate

25 February 2014

The ESRC has today published a press release entitled Informal Economy Missing from Climate Change Debate.

The release, which can be seen in full below, is based on the current research project Greenhouse gas emissions, technology and work in production and distribution systems: rice in India which is funded by the ESRC and led by Professor Barbara Harriss-White, Senior Research Fellow at CSASP. 

CSASP Cheers on Squash Hopeful

17 February 2014

Staff and students within the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme will be cheering on MSc in Contemporary India student Devkaran Bhatty when he takes on Cambridge as part of the Oxford Blues annual varsity squash match next Saturday. Before coming to Oxford, Dev ranked seventh on the Indian Men’s squash circuit, and won the US Skill Level National Championship in 2009. Amidst a hectic study schedule, Dev also finds time to excel in chess.

OxFID 2014 - Oxford's biggest conference on International Development

13 February 2014

Tickets are on sale for the Oxford Forum for International Development, taking place at the Said Business School on the 21st-23rd February 2014. 

The theme this year is Global Gamechangers and among the high-profile speakers attending are Rebeca Grynspan (UN Development Program and former VP of Costa Rica), Mark Goldring (CEO of Oxfam) and Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba (Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth). 

Visit their facebook page or website for more information and to buy tickets.

Workers and Owners at Odds - a seminar presented by Dr Azam Chaudhury

11 February 2014

On Thursday 30th January, 2014, Dr Azam Chaudhury of the Lahore School of Economics gave a seminar to CSASP students, entitled Workers and Owners at Odds: Innovation and Incentives in Pakistan.

This seminar was part of the Contemporary South Asia Seminar Series, jointly organised by the Department of International Development and CSASP, funded by a grant from the Faculty of Oriental Studies.

Haggling Hindi Students Drive a Hard Bargain

11 February 2014

Students of Hindi today (10th February 2014) tried their hand at bargaining for silk saris, colourful kurtas and shimmering scarves in a make-shift ‘Indian clothing store’ as part of the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme’s course “Hindi ‘in situ’”. The shopping experience was the third of five role play events that feature in the innovative course, which uses drama sessions to reinforce language learning and encourages students to regularly make the transfer from classroom to language context. The recruitment of five talented Hindi-speaking role-play actors has been made possible by a project-funding award granted by the Teaching Audit Committee of the Social Sciences Divisional Board.

Delhi: Mostly Harmless: One woman's vision of the city

29 January 2014

Congratulations to Liz Chatterjee on the publication of her book Delhi: Mostly Harmless: One woman's vision of the city.

Liz graduated from the MSc in Contemporary India in its very first cohort and, amongst other things, is now a teaching fellow on the course.

The book is already receiving great reviews and can be purchased on Amazon.

Towards an International Society of the Future Workshop

13 January 2014

This event took place at St Antony's College on Thursday 16th and Friday 17th of January 2014.

Full details can be found in our research pages.

Podcasts of the event will be published shortly.

Ram Mashru - Human InSecurity: Fear, Deprivation and Abuse in India

10 January 2014

Congratulations to Ram Mashru on the publication of his book entitled Human InSecurity: Fear, Deprivation and Abuse in India. Ram studied for the MSc in Contemporary India, graduating in 2013.

The book has been published by The Diplomat and is available to download from Amazon.


"Reports on India’s chronic social and political evils have become impossible to avoid. Commentators have treated them as distinct problems, but this habit of compartmentalising issues has obscured the many complex and interconnected factors that drive the stories of fear, deprivation and abuse in India. Ram Mashru drills beneath the news reports to identify these factors. The book takes a novel approach by relying on theory, and Human Security is adopted as a lens to examine India’s persistent social and political challenges. Ram explores three case studies – inter-ethnic violence, displacement and torture – to produce compelling answers to the questions, "What are the causes of insecurity in India and what should be done about them?"

The Ethics of Taking Sides - Dr George Kunnath in Conversation

28 November 2013

What kinds of ethical dilemmas are faced by researchers engaging in fieldwork contexts marked by conflict?  CSASP anthropologist Dr George Kunnath reflects on this and other ethical questions in the latest issue of Current Anthropology. His ground-breaking article, ‘Anthropology’s Ethical Dilemmas’ reflects on the choice anthropologists face over whether or not to ‘take sides’ when working with vulnerable communities amidst armed conflict. Dr Kunnath’s candid and often moving reflections draw from his long-term ethnographic research in India, set against the backdrop of the ongoing Maoist insurgency and counterinsurgency. His article elicits responses from top scholars in field, within the journal’s Forum on Public Anthropology. The result is a comprehensive and novel conversation that contributes significantly to scholarship on the ethics of anthropological engagement.

Dr Kate Sullivan honoured at University Teaching Awards

27 November 2013

Dr Kate Sullivan was recently rewarded for Excellence in Teaching at the annual University Teaching Awards ceremony which took place at Rhodes House.

The award will support her Hindi "in situ" language classes.

For more information on the event, please visit the Wolfson College news page.

Speak Hindi? Feel like a little drama?

31 October 2013

We are seeking five Hindi-speaking role-play actors to help teach Hindi through drama in five events across Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity terms. If you have a very high level of Hindi fluency and a flair for the dramatic, please email for information on how to apply. A full briefing will be given and the role-play actors will be paid for their time. The closing date for applications is 6 November 2013. 

A Trip to the Ashmolean

24 October 2013

The Ashmolean Museum’s University Engagement Programme (UEP) was established in 2012 with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to further the partnership between the Ashmolean and the University’s faculties, and to enhance the impact of cross-disciplinary teaching and learning at Oxford. Building on the rich tradition of object teaching at Oxford in traditional subjects such as Archaeology and History of Art, the programme’s three Teaching Curators foster innovative course collaborations across a wide range of departments, teaching with objects from the Museum’s world-class collections to offer valuable additional perspectives to students as they develop critical understanding of their chosen topics. The UEP is keen to engage students and faculty in the Museum, which is a great resource for almost any period of study. Dr Mallica Kumbera Landrus, one of the teaching curators at the Ashmolean, led 18 of us through the galleries and object handling sessions on Wednesday 23 October.

For further information on the UEP, please visit the Ashmolean website or email

Teaching award makes way for Hindi drama

18 October 2013

The Teaching Excellence Awards scheme – run by the Teaching Audit Committee of the Social Sciences Divisional Board – has granted a project-funding award to Dr Kate Sullivan of the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme. Below, she talks about what the award means for her course, Hindi ‘in situ’ – An introduction to Hindi for fieldworkers and researchers and its students.

What does this award mean for your course?

We’re thrilled to receive this award because it now allows us to transform our beginner’s Hindi course into something much more exciting and dynamic. We’ll now be recruiting native speaker ‘actors’ to engage our students in a series of role-play situations. Through these drama sessions, students will be immersed in simulated “in-country” experiences, such as browsing and bargaining in an Indian clothes shop, hailing a rickshaw, or participating in a village council meeting.

How do you think drama will factor into the learning process?

I think that many people who have tried to learn a language – myself included – tend to find it hard to transfer what they learn in the classroom to an actual ‘live’ language setting. The alternation between normal classroom activity and drama sessions in our course is intended to simulate that transition. This will hopefully encourage students to think constantly about how they are going to apply what they learn and should keep their language-learning goals clear and tangible. And since the drama sessions will allow students to test their ability to communicate within defined situations, it will hopefully keep their motivation levels high, too.

Is this the first time you will be using drama to teach language skills?

I actually had enormous fun teaching an intermediate Hindi language course at the Australian National University in 2009. This was a multimedia course entitled Filmi Hindi, which required students to watch Bollywood films and analyse language use within them. Their final assessment involved writing and performing their own (abbreviated) Bollywood script, which was just fantastic. It was certainly the success of this experience that made me consider using drama as a teaching method in Hindi ‘in situ’.

What kind of student is participating in the course and why do they want to learn Hindi?

The course meets the needs of graduate students, both at the doctoral and the masters level, who are planning fieldwork or any other kind of visit to Hindi-speaking regions and wish to develop basic Hindi literacy and conversation skills. Many of the students on the course are also studying for our MSc in Contemporary India. What an understanding of Hindi can offer them—apart from help with the practical considerations of travel—is a new appreciation of everyday life, thought and meaning in some important parts of India. This kind of thinking is in keeping with what we do here in Area Studies – that is, we generally try to understand the world from various vantage points, rather than simply gaze from afar.

Dalit and Adivasi 'Incorporation' in the Indian Economy

17 October 2013

Professor Barbara Harriss-White will be speaking at a book launch and panel discussion in New Delhi at the Jawaharlal Nehru University on Thursday October 17th.

She will be introducing the book "Dalit and Adivasis in India's Business Economy: Three Essays and An Atlas" by Sudha Pai. The book launch will be followed by discussion on exclusion and inclusion of Dalits and Adivasis in India.

For more information, please see the event schedule.

Hindi 'in situ' class sign up time extended

11 October 2013

The Hind 'in situ' language classes which start on Monday October 14th are still available for booking.

The booking period has been extended until the morning of Monday 14th, so please visit the Hindi page of our website for more information and Weblearn for bookings.

Hindi language classes are now available

10 October 2013

Hindi "in situ" is an introduction to the Hindi language for fieldworkers and researchers which offers to provide a basic ability to read, write and speak the language as it is used in everyday life in India. The course is being offered by Dr Kate Sullivan and classes will commence in Week 1 of Michelmas Term.

Please see the Hindi Language page for more information.

Wolfson South Asia Research Cluster

7 October 2013

The Wolfson South Asia Research Cluster will be holding its monthly informal lunch meeting on Wednesday, 9th October, (week 0) at Wolfson. Please join us in hall at 12:45pm. Lunch will be on a pay-yourself basis and anyone with an interest in research on South Asia is very welcome.

For more details contact:

SIAS twitter feed launch

3 September 2013

SIAS is on twitter (@SIASOxford). Please follow us to get notified about news and events from across the school.

Congratulations to Dissertation Prize Winners

16 August 2013

Each year, CSASP awards the Barbara Harriss-White Dissertation Award to the writer of the most outstanding dissertation from the MSc in Contemporary India.

This year, the Examinations Board had an extremely hard job to select just one piece and therefore two awards have been made.

We would all like to pass on our congratulations to both Spencer Heijnen and Di Wu for their achievement.


Rebels from the Mud Houses - A Review

24 July 2013

Dr George Kunnath's publication Rebels from the Mud Houses: Dalits and the Making fo the Maoist Revolution in Bihar has received an excellent review in the July 2013 edition of the Journal of Agrarian Change.

Full article

India Day @ Oxford

26 June 2013

Footage from the Network 18 and Contemporary South Asia Studies event India Day @ Oxford. 

Media Coverage of "India Day at Oxford"

24 June 2013

Information on media coverage of the "India Day at Oxford" which took place at the Randolph Hotel, Oxford on Friday June 14th.

At Oxford University's India Day, Salman Khurshid compares China to ATM machine
DNA India, 14/06/2013, via PTI (Press Trust of India - news agency)

Khurshid compares China with ATM machine
MSN India, 14/06/2013, via PTI

Khurshid compares China with ATM machine
Business Standard (India), 14/06/2013, via PTI

India will be back to 8% growth in few yrs: Khurshid
Economic Times (India), 14/06/2013, via PTI

Arun Jaitley warns Nitish Kumar: Bihar may pay price if JD(U) snaps alliance with BJP
Indian Express, 14/06/2013, via PTI

Arun Jaitley warns Nitish Kumar: Bihar may pay price if JD(U) snaps alliance with BJP
Financial Express (India), 14/06/2013, via PTI

Bihar may have to pay price if JD(U) alliance ends: Arun Jaitley
Economic Times (India), 14/06/2013, via PTI

Bihar may have to pay price if JD(U) alliance ends: Jaitley
MSN India, 15/06/2013, via PTI

Bihar may have to pay price if JD(U) alliance ends: Jaitley
Business Standard (India), 14/06/2013, via PTI

Bihar may have to pay price if JD(U) alliance ends: Jaitley
OneIndia (India), 15/06/2013

Oxford IHD Conference New Delhi June 13th 14th

17 June 2013

The final symposium of the ESRC-DFID funded project on Technology, Jobs and a Lower Carbon Future - Methods, Substance and ideas for the Informal Economy (the case of rice)  took place on 13th-14th June 2013 at the India International Centre, New Delhi, organised by the Institute for Human Development.

It covered two years of (field) research across eleven knowledge fields and involved a network of researchers in 6 Indian institutions.

The conference was inaugurated by the Minister for Science, Technology and Earth Science, Mr Jaipal Reddy and Prof Yoginder Alagh, the former Minister and economist.
On the science front, Rajendra Pachauri the Nobel peace prize winning chair of the IPCC chaired the final session. Representing the bureaucracy: Dr T Chatterjee IAS, former environment secretary.

Planning and Policy: Prof Abijit Sen of the Planning Commission and Prof S Hashim, former Member.Journalism: Praful Bidwai.
Informal Economy: Prof Jeeemol Unni, Director, IRMA Ahmedabad
Labour and Civil Society: Nagraj Adve, Climate Justice Network
Agriculture: Prof. Ramesh Chand, Director, National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, New Delhi
Rice: Dr T K Adhya, Director, Cuttack Rice Research Institute
and 50 others.

Links to the Programme and the Conference Book are below.

Please contact for further details.



India Day @ Oxford News Coverage and Reviews

17 June 2013

The India Day @ Oxford event, India: A Political Economy for the 21st Century, took place at the Randolph Hotel, Oxford on Friday 14th June and was a great success. Early coverage of the event can be found on First PostForbes India and IBN Live websites. More to follow.

Tune in for coverage of India: A Political Economy for the 21st Century

14 June 2013

The conference event India: A Political Economy for the 21st Century will be taking place at the Randolph Hotel, Oxford today. Live streaming of the event along with Twitter feed and blog can be found on IBN Live and Forbes India.

Ilma Afroz - MSc. Contemporary India 2011-2012

29 May 2013

Congratulations to Ilma Afroz (MSc Contemporary India 2011-2012) for her first published article.

Ilma is currently on an internship with the United Nations Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia (UNORCID).

She is also undertaking translation services from Bahasa Indonesia to English.

Mallika Shakya article published in The Hindu

2 May 2013

Mallika Shakya, an associate of our South Asia Programme has just published a thoughtful article about the Bangladesh disaster in India’s top liberal newspaper The Hindu. Mallika is a former World Bank expert on labour in the textiles industry in South Asia and is currently teaching at the South Asia University. Her full biography is on our Assosciates page.


Congratulations to Professor Barbara Harriss-White on her Award of Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences

28 March 2013

The Award of Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences has been conferred on former CSASP Director Professor Barbara Harriss-White for her contribution to the Social Sciences. CSASP is glad to congratulate Professor Harriss-White on this significant

Professor Harriss-White is currently a Senior Research Fellow, Area Studies, Oxford University, Emeritus Fellow, Wolfson College, Oxford and Emeritus Professor of Development Studies, Oxford University.

For more information on Professor Harriss-White including publications see:

For more information about Professor Harriss-White's current research project see:

New Working Paper - Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Rice - Dr Alfred Gathorne-Hardy

21 March 2013

Globally rice is a crucial crop: it has a central role in providing food, it has a central role in providing employment, and it has substantial environmental impacts. This paper looks at the environmental impacts from rice farming, specifically greenhouse gas emissions.

Rice provides the staple food for over 60% of the world’s population.  Globally 80% of rice is grown by small farmers in low income and developing nations, and in India rice farming is a key source of employment for the 60% of Indian workers still dependent on agriculture for work.  Yet rice production is also an important source of greenhouse gas emissions, for example responsible for between 3 and 8 times the emissions of wheat, due largely to the methane emitted from flooded paddy fields, and the energy needed for pumping water.  

Understanding how these emissions arise, and potential mitigating steps, is important not only for environmental scientists, but also for social and political scientists who wish to understand the interactions between the social and environmental aspects of agriculture.

This paper is aimed at scientists and non-scientists alike - while covering all the science associated with rice farming greenhouse gas emissions, it aims to do so in a manner understandable by all.

World poverty is shrinking rapidly, new Oxford University's Poverty and Human Development Initiative index reveals

18 March 2013

Some of the poorest people in the world are becoming significantly less poor, according to a groundbreaking academic study which has taken a new approach to measuring deprivation. The report, by Oxford University's Poverty and Human Development Initiative, predicts that countries among the most impoverished in the world could see acute poverty eradicated within 20 years if they continue at present rates. The study of the world's poorest one billion people uses a new measure, the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) which uses ten indicators to calculate poverty, including nutrition, child mortality, years of schooling and attendance, cooking fuel, water, sanitation, electricity assets and a covered floor. The system was developed in 2010 by the institute's director, Dr Sabina Alkire, and Dr Maria Emma Santos. Dr Alkire said: "As poor people worldwide have said, poverty is more than money – it is ill health, it is food insecurity, it is not having work, or experiencing violence and humiliation, or not having health care, electricity, or good housing”. The study found that in 2013 a total of 1.6 billion people are living in "multidimensional" poverty. The poorest one billion live in 100 countries. Most of the bottom billion live in South Asia, with India home to 40%, followed by sub-Saharan Africa with 33%. The report also found that 9.5% of the bottom billion poor people lived in developed, upper middle-income countries.


MSc Contemporary India Alumna 2011-12 joins UNORCID in Central Kalimantan

12 February 2013

Congratulations to Ms Ilma Afroz, MSc in Contemporary India alumna 2011-12 who will join UNORCID as an intern in March. Ilma will be supporting the pilot province office in Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan.

More information about UNORCID

The United Nations Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia (UNORCID) is currently looking for highly qualified and motivated postgraduate students and recent graduates for its internship program. UNORCID interns have the opportunity of learning in-depth about the establishment of the Reductions of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism in Indonesia. REDD+ is at the heart of the global climate change debate and provides a great opportunity for achieving meaningful emissions reduction and sustainable development at the same time.

UNORCID serves as the UN's primary point of contact for supporting the Indonesian government in establishing a REDD+ mechanism, coordinating between different UN Agencies and connecting REDD+ Indonesia to global climate change policy.

UNORCID interns can choose between different internship cycles (all between 3 and 6 months) and focus areas, including but not limited to Environmental Economics, Biodiversity, Policy & Strategy, Monitoring and Evaluation, Communications and Forest Management.

For more details and downloading the full application package, interested students can visit UNORCID’s website:

Additionally, UNORCID Twitter account and Facebook page feature regular updates about Indonesia’s National REDD+ Programme, REDD+ progress worldwide as well as sustainable development topics and questions related to the transition towards a green economy.

Facebook Twitter: @unorcid  Applications or queries: or

CSASP Associate Shapan Adnan publishes paper

8 February 2013

CSASP Associate Shapan Adnan publishes paper 'Land grabs and primitive accumulation in deltaic Bangladesh: interactions between neoliberal globalization, state interventions, power relations and peasant resistance'

For more information on Shapan Adnan -

India’s climate change challenge

31 January 2013

An article on our current research project, Resources, greenhouse gases, technology and jobs in India's informal economy the case of rice led by Professor Barbara Harriss-White was published recently on Climate News Network.

India’s climate change challenge

January 30, 2013 in Development Issues

EMBARGOED until 0001 GMT on Wednesday 30 January

By Kieran Cooke

India has made giant strides in increasing rice production, both to feed its own people and for export. But the price has been massive water consumption, and rising greenhouse gas emissions.

LONDON, 30 January – India has to find a new model of development if the twin challenges of job creation and climate change are to be met, says an Oxford University academic, Professor Barbara Harriss-White, of the Oxford Department of International Development.

“At present economic development in India is looked at very much in terms of catching up with Europe and East Asia”, says Professor Harriss-White, a South Asia expert and part of an Oxford-based team investigating greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in India’s informal economy – a sector, she says, which accounts for about 60% of the country’s GDP and for nine out of every ten jobs, yet one that has been “completely neglected” in debates about climate change.

“The position held by the overwhelming majority in India is that the country – which derives 70% of its energy from coal – has the right to pollute based on its relatively small contribution to the historical stock of CO2 in the atmosphere. Understandably, development and poverty reduction are the priorities.

“Yet the country’s natural resources are degrading at an alarming rate – a transition to development based on low carbon has to be initiated. And despite the economic growth of recent years, at least 260 million people are malnourished, 45% of them children.

Prodigious increase

“Meanwhile 16 million people are entering the jobs stream each year – most facing the prospect of poor quality jobs, or no jobs at all. All this presents an enormous challenge.”

Professor Harriss-White and her team are at present looking at GHG emissions in rice production and distribution systems. Much of the activity in this sector takes place in the so-called informal economy, based on part-time or seasonal jobs and loose marketing structures.

Over the last 30 years India has nearly doubled its rice production, mainly through the introduction of new, high-yielding varieties. While 95% of production is consumed domestically, India recently supplanted Thailand as the world’s biggest rice exporter.

But the increase in rice output has led to a massive over-exploitation of water resources, with millions of farmers using electric pumps to harness well waters for their rice fields.

Gone forever

The Oxford team have found there are GHG emissions in each phase of rice production and its marketing: for example when fields are cultivated and flooded large amounts of soil methane are released. Bullocks also produce a lot of methane.

But it’s the coal needed to produce the energy to lift the water that’s the biggest problem. Over-exploitation of water resources has not only led to more GHG emissions but could result in future rice shortages.

Professor Harriss-White says: “In many areas we’ve studied in the east of the country rice production has reached a plateau. This is due both to a lack of new rice strains coming on to the market and to the stress on water resources.

“Many farmers are having to drill bore holes right down to fossil layers for water – and those waters won’t be replenished.” Changes in climate are also likely to have an adverse impact on India’s rice production.

“Rice is vulnerable to climate change,” says Harriss-White. “A rise in temperature means more pests – and a greater likelihood of periods both of flooding and drought. Rice production must adapt to climate change. Most farmers we talk to don’t talk in terms of climate change – instead they talk of the monsoons becoming less reliable.” – Climate News Network

For more information:

About our new website

1 December 2012

Welcome to our new-look website. Our goal is to improve user experience with a responsive design, built to work on mobile devices as well as desktop computers. We'd really like your feedback. Please use our contact page to tell us what you think.

Applications for the Grimstone Foundation Travel Award close 11 June


The Grimstone Foundation generously offers Travelling Fellowships to current MPhil or DPhil students whose research is related to Asian Studies. If suitable candidates present themselves, one or two awards of up to £2,500 each will be made. The awards are to support either a cultural travel project or field work that must be related to the student’s research. The travel must be within Asia during the academic year 2012/13, which will usually be in the applicant’s second year of study so that it will contribute to their dissertation/thesis. At the completion of the project, Fellowship-holders will be required to provide a report to the College of about 1500 words illustrating how the award has contributed to their research.

All applicants must provide:

  • A curriculum vitae
  • A research proposal: a clear outline of the work to be undertaken in Asia and how it fits into their programme of study, which should be around 500 to 1000 words in length. An itemized budget giving approximate costs should be included and, where applications have been for additional sources of funding, these should be listed
  • Letters of support from two referees (one of whom should be the applicants supervisor). Referees should submit references directly to the Academic Administrator.

Please submit applications and references to the Academic Secretary, Wolfson College, Oxford, OX2 6UD, email by Monday 11 June 2012. Applicants should ensure that referees meet this deadline; the College will not seek references on behalf of applicants. Contact: Academic Secretary, Wolfson College, Oxford Phone: