March 14, 2014│Sewell Hall 309│4:00 p.m.
Akhil Gupta is a leading scholar in the anthropology of the state, postcolonialism, and development. His ethnographic research, primarily in rural India, and theoretical work have been widely influential on diverse areas of inquiry, including environmental anthropology, peasant studies, food and agricultural studies, and anthropological theory. His latest book, Red Tape: Bureaucracy, Structural Violence, and Poverty in India re-theorizes the relationship between the state in India and its poor citizens as one of structural violence. In it, he argues that expanding bureaucratic infrastructures that are intended to care for the poor have resulted in unevenly distributed and arbitrary outcomes that can only be understood in terms of everyday bureaucratic practices. His most recent work has turned to infrastructure as at once a physical presence that directs collective life, a biopolitical project of care for population health and welfare that also enables discipline and control, and an aspirational project that symbolizes future becoming.
Akhil Gupta is Professor of Anthropology at UCLA and Director of the Center for India and South Asia at UCLA. He was recently awarded the Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize for 2014 for his book Red Tape, published in 2012. Other notable publications include: Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India; Culture, Power, Place: Explorations in Critical Anthropology (coeditor); The State in India after Liberalization: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (coeditor); Anthropological Locations: Boundaries and Grounds of a Field Science; The Anthropology of the State: A Reader; and Caste and Outcast.