Universiteit Leiden

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Radhika Gupta

Assistant professor

Dr. R. Gupta
+31 71 527 4052

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.

More information about Radhika Gupta


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.

Curriculum vitae


  • 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

Work Experience

  • 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

Assistant professor

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS India en Tibet

Work address

Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 3
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 001b


  • 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. book chapter
  • Gupta R. (2016), Review of: Bhan M. Counterinsurgency, Democracy, and the Politics of Identity in India, European Bulletin of Himalayan Research (48). book review
  • 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 . book review
  • 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. article in journal
  • 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. article in journal
  • Gupta R. (2014), Review of: Ricci R. Islam Translated: Literature, Conversion, and the Arabic Comopolis, Asian Ethnology Review 73(1-2). book review
  • Gupta R. (2014), Poetics and Politics of Borderland Dwelling: Baltis in Kargil, South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (10). article in journal
  • Gupta R. (2013), Allegiance and Alienation: Border dynamics in Kargil. In: Gellner D. (Ed.) Borderland Lives in Northern South Asia. Durham: Duke University Press. book chapter
  • Gupta R. (2013), Review of: Rethinking Secularism Calhoun C., Juergensmyer M., Antwerpen J. van, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 19(1): 204-205. book review
  • Gupta R. (2012), Contemporary Publics and Politics in Ladakh, Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 32(1-2). article in journal
  • 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). article in journal
  • Gupta R. (2009), Asad Ashura: An Indigenous Cultural Tradition?. In: Bray J., Ahmad M. (Eds.) Recent Research on Ladakh.. book chapter
  • Mitra K. & Gupta R. (2009), Indigenous Peoples’ forest tenure in India. In: Perera J. (Ed.) Land and Cultural Survival. Manila: Asian Development Bank. book chapter
  • 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. book chapter
  • Gupta R. (2003), Changing Courses: A Comparative Analysis of Ethnographies of Maritime Communities in South Asia, Maritime Studies 2(2): 21-38. article in journal

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