FASS Staff Profile


AS 1 / 03-27

I am a social anthropologist, broadly interested in forms and experiences of inequality produced through the intersection of mobility, policing, and gender in our contemporary world. I use ethnography and feminist approaches to study a range of concerns, such as: borders and borderlands, the mobility of people and goods, citizenship, refuge and neighborliness, the national security state, agrarian change, spatial history, transnational kinship, and the political economy of gendered labor. I conduct research in India and Bangladesh.


My first book, A Thousand Tiny Cuts: Mobility and Security Across the India-Bangladesh Borderlands (University of California Press, 2023), chronicles the slow transformation of a connected region into national borderlands and shows the foundational place of gender and sexuality in the meaning and management of threat and security in relation to mobility. This book recasts a singular focus on border fences and migrants as border-crossers and shows, instead, that postcolonial bordering materializes through multiple forms of violence and devaluation in agrarian, borderland lives.


My academic writing and photo essays have been published in the American Anthropologist, Current Anthropology, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, the Economic and Political Weekly, Gender, Place and Culture, among others. I also contribute podcasts, op-eds, and photo essays to engage in wider public debates on these topics.


I received my PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. Before joining NUS, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, Harvard University and at the Watson Institute at Brown University. I also hold an MPhil in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford and a BA and MA in English Literature from Delhi University and Jadavpur University, respectively.


SC 2217 Travel Matters

AN 2101 Research Methods in Anthropology 

SC 4880 Policing and Militarism (Selected Topics in Sociology & Anthropology)


Borders and Bodies; Space, Place and Power; Gender, Labor and Mobility; Anthropology of the State


  • PhD Students -- Sandeepan Tripathi, Ranjita Dilraj, Yaxuan Su, Daeun Lee 
  • Honors Thesis Advisor -- Zara Karimi, Lok Yee Ling, William Tok

I am conducting research on two new projects: on the gendered labors of soldiering in India and the transnational governance of labor migration through the prism of Bangladesh.

Borders and borderlands; mobility; gender and sexuality; critical security studies; ethnography of the state; transnational and postcolonial feminism; South Asia; space and value; labor studies; feminist and decolonial pedagogy.


  • 2023     “Inclusion vs integration: Debating gender, labor and equality in the Border Security Force” in India’s Security Institutions, eds. Devesh Kapur and Amit Ahuja, New York: Oxford University Press.

    2022      “Tobacco trails: Through homes, markets and fields of northern Bengal”, in Generations: Remaking and Rethinking Bangladesh, eds. Nusrat Chowdhury and Lotte Hoek, Anthem Press.

    2021    “Belonging and difference in transnational families across the Bengal borderlands” in South Asian Borderlands: Mobility, History, Affect edited by Farhana Ibrahim and Tanuja Kothiyal, New Delhi: Cambridge University Press.


  • 2022     “Security from the South: Postcolonial and Imperial Entanglements”, co-authored with Samar al-Bulushi and Inderpal Grewal, Social Text 152 vol 40 (3). 

    2019    “Introduction” to Special Section edited on Living with Surveillance. Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 39 (3).


  • 2023.     "Security Regimes: Transnational and Imperial Entanglements", Annual Review of Anthropology, vol 52 (co-authors Samar al-Bulushi, Inderpal Grewal)

    2022      “No place for protest: Domesticating national security in India’s ‘friendly’ borderlands”, Social Text 152 vol 40 (3). 

    2022     “Barbed wire in the agrarian borderlands”, Current Anthropology, 63 (3).

    2022     “Generations”, Feminist Anthropology, forthcoming. (co-author Megha Sharma Sehdev). Early view online https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/fea2.12095 

    2020    “Between Faith and Panic: Refugee Citizenship in India’s Eastern Borderlands” in a special online issue on citizenship, Political and Legal Anthropology Review.

    2020    “Chor, police, and cattle: The political economies of bovine and masculine value in the India-Bangladesh borderlands”, in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 42 (6).

    2019    ‘” Everything must match”: Detection, deception and migrant illegality in the India-Bangladesh borderlands’, American Anthropologist, 121 (4).

    2019    “Security socialities: Gender, surveillance and civil-military relations in India’s eastern borderlands”. Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 39 (3).

    2017    “Relative Intimacies: Belonging and difference in transnational families across the Bengal borderland”. Economic and Political Weekly, vol LII, no 15.

    2014    “Anti-trafficking and its discontents: Women’s migrations and work in an Indian borderland”. Gender, Place & Culture, vol. 22:9, pp. 1220-1235.

    2011    “Cross-border activities in everyday life: the Bengal borderland”. Contemporary South Asia, vol. 19: 1, pp. 49-60.


  • 2022     “Parade Charade”, invited  contribution to a special issue titled “Geopolitical Lives”, American Anthropologist online, Vital Topics.

    2021    ‘American Anthropology, Decolonization, and the Politics of Location’, co-authored with Samar al-Bulushi and Madiha Tahir, American Anthropologist website.

    2019    ‘Geographies of Occupation in South Asia: Possibilities of Feminist Solidarity’, a co-authored statement, Feminist Studies, 45: 2 /3.



    2020    ‘The slipperiness of documents: Notes from India’s eastern borderlands’, coauthored with Radhika Moral, Border Criminologies blog at the University of Oxford.

    2020    ‘Migration and Citizenship Struggles in Contemporary India’, Globally Trending, podcast of the Watson Institute, Brown University.

    2019    ‘New laws weaponize citizenship in India’, coauthored with Sara Shneiderman, The Conversation, Dec 22nd, 2019.

    2017    ‘Bureaucratizing “choice”: Longing, belonging, and not knowing in the India-Bangladesh exchange of enclaves, Special Issue ‘India at 70: The Many Partitions’, Café Dissensus.

    2016    ‘The eddies in the boundary’, Himal Southasian, a review of Bengali film, Sankhachil, and popular representations of the legacy of Partition and contemporary politics of the India-Bangladesh border.

At NUS -- 

Co-organizer, Seminar Series, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Associate Member of the Asian Migrations and Inter-Asian Engagements clusters at the Asia Research Institute

Professional Service -- 

Board Member, Association for Feminist Anthropology

Program Committee Co-Chair, Association for Political and Legal Anthropology

Last Modified: 2023-10-17         Total Visits: 15125