I am a Sociocultural Anthropologist with research interests in the anthropology of religion (especially Islam), borderlands, post-colonial politics, urban anthropology, environmental humanities, and critical theory.
My research examines the politics of belonging and place-making among Shi'a Muslims living along the contested India-Pakistan borderland in Kargil (Kashmir). It explores how borderland regimes and the politics of state security are negotiated on the ground in everyday life. Debates around enduring categories of ‘nation’, ‘culture’, and ‘religion’ in the local public sphere reveal underlying the anxieties of belonging on this borderland. I investigate the creative calibrations that are made between transnational religious ideas and ideologies from Iran and Iraq with nationalist ideologies and between Tibetan Buddhism and Islam in the discourses and practices of place-making in Kargil. These discourses are embedded and entwined with an ongoing process of Islamic reform that is influencing ideas of personhood, public space, and ordinary ethics.
My second project examines on the political economy of religious life in urban India. I have undertaken research on sacred space, philanthropy and religious media among Shi'a Muslims in Mumbai.
- DPhil Sociocultural Anthropology (2011), University of Oxford
- MSc Development Studies (2000), London School of Economics and Political Science
- MPhil and M.A Sociology (1999), Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics
- Research Fellow (2013-2017), Centre for Modern Indian Studies, Goettingen University, Germany
- Post-doctoral Research Fellow (2011-2013), Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germant
- Coordinator, Equity and Rights (2004-2007), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, Nepal
- Gupta R. (2017), Seeking Knowledge from the Cradle to the Grave: Shi'i Networks of Learning in India. In: Jaffrelot C., Louer L. (Eds.) Pan-Islamic Connections: Transnational Networks Between South Asia and the Gulf. London: Hurst and Co.
- Gupta R. (2016), Review of: Bhan M. Counterinsurgency, Democracy, and the Politics of Identity in India, European Bulletin of Himalayan Research (48).
- Gupta R., Rippa A., Rest M., Joniak-Lüthy A., Maertens C., Müller J., Rail L. & Saxer M. (2016), On Roads: A Review Letter Review of: Harvey P., Knox H. Roads. An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise, Cultural Anthropology .
- Gupta R. (2015), There Must be Some Way Out of Here: Beyond a Spatial Conception of Muslim Ghettoization in Mumbai?, Ethnography 16(3): 352-270.
- Gupta R. (2014), Experiments with Khomeini’s Revolution in Kargil: Contemporary Shi‘a Networks between India and West Asia, Modern Asian Studies 48(2): 370-398.
- Gupta R. (2014), Review of: Ricci R. Islam Translated: Literature, Conversion, and the Arabic Comopolis, Asian Ethnology Review 73(1-2).
- Gupta R. (2014), Poetics and Politics of Borderland Dwelling: Baltis in Kargil, South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (10).
- Gupta R. (2013), Allegiance and Alienation: Border dynamics in Kargil. In: Gellner D. (Ed.) Borderland Lives in Northern South Asia. Durham: Duke University Press.
- Gupta R. (2013), Review of: Rethinking Secularism Calhoun C., Juergensmyer M., Antwerpen J. van, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 19(1): 204-205.
- Gupta R. (2012), Contemporary Publics and Politics in Ladakh, Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 32(1-2).
- Gupta R. (2012), The Importance of Being Ladakhi in Kargil: Affects and Artifice, Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 32(1-2).
- Gupta R. (2009), Asad Ashura: An Indigenous Cultural Tradition?. In: Bray J., Ahmad M. (Eds.) Recent Research on Ladakh..
- Mitra K. & Gupta R. (2009), Indigenous Peoples’ forest tenure in India. In: Perera J. (Ed.) Land and Cultural Survival. Manila: Asian Development Bank.
- Tiwari S. & Gupta R. (2008), Changing Currents: An Ethnography of the Traditional Irrigation Practices of Leh. In: Beek M. van, Pirie F. (Eds.) Modern Ladakh. Leiden: Brill.
- Gupta R. (2003), Changing Courses: A Comparative Analysis of Ethnographies of Maritime Communities in South Asia, Maritime Studies 2(2): 21-38.
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