Current Institutional Affiliation
Postdoctoral Fellow, Media, Inequality and Change Center, University of Pennsylvania

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2014
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, City University of New York (CUNY) / Graduate Center
Imagine Us Here: Urban Redevelopment, Slum Dwellers, and the Place of Imagination in Mumbai

Urban redevelopment schemes in Mumbai proceed according to a highly unpredictable repertoire of developer-run rehabilitation, court-ordered displacement, and mass illegal evictions. This project argues that the uneven outcomes of urban development as well as key cultural images of the changing city are significantly shaped by slum dwellers' senses of possibility and forms of imagination around redevelopment. Using collective imagination as a means of uncovering how social meanings in, and of, the city are constructed and negotiated, this project investigates the ways that slum dwellers understand and engage in techniques of exclusion and inclusion through various encounters with redevelopment forces. The technocratic city has been a hallmark of recent investigations that demonstrate how rising inequality in global cities is spatially located in a range of built forms and urban processes, from infrastructure to investments in real estate speculation. However, shared forms of imagination and notions of possibility are a largely overlooked, yet significant, embodied and material feature of urban life. This project investigates the processes through which urban imaginaries form and impact the various scales in which redevelopment politics proceed. Everyday experiences of these social forces, specifically how they draw upon and shape social imaginaries of the city, illuminate questions of mobilization, urban democracy, and agency in Mumbai as well as cities in a range of world regions.