Research Interests: Anthropology of the State, Political Ecology, Multiculturalism, Anthropology of Development, Tourism Studies, Indigeneity, Borders and Frontiers, Multispecies Ethnography, Environmental History.
Professor Suchismita Das earned her PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2019 and has an MA and MPhil in Sociology from Delhi University. Previously, she worked as a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the University of Chicago and as a lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She teaches courses on Social Science Theories, Environment and Development, Politics of Multiculturalism, Research Design and Anthropology of Tourism.
Professor Das is broadly interested in anthropologically examining the transformation of the Development State in the Anthropocene. Specifically, her research trajectory seeks to assess how a reckoning with climate change impacts ethnopolitics, agrarian imaginaries and disaster preparedness in the Eastern Himalayas. Her doctoral ethnography analyses how ethnic groups participating in market-oriented conservation projects in Sikkim tie their cultural diversity with the valued biodiversity of the landscape, and transform the multicultural politics of the region into a form of biocultural politics. At Ahmedabad University, she is interested in furthering her research on organic agriculture, ecotourism and infrastructure-building in the Himalayas, in order to trace the intersections between environmental vulnerability and political vulnerability on India’s margins.
Professor Suchismita Das is an Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences division of the School of Arts and Sciences.
Professor Suchismita Das’s current book project, titled, “Assembling Diversity: Conservation, Ethnopolitics and Bio-cultural Recognition on the Himalayan Frontier” aims to widen the scope of the analysis of multicultural recognition in India. Drawing on 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Sikkim, she traces how ‘diversity’ is reimagined in the Anthropocene, when, with the rise of biodiversity conservation discourses, it is not only a social, but also an ecological good. As ethnic minorities hitch their cultural diversity to the valued biota of the region, thereby seeking validation as inter-species assemblages, the book evaluates the scope of this emergent multispecies recognition politics, and its impact on India’s motto of ‘unity in diversity’.
At Ahmedabad, Professor Das is interested in studying infrastructure-collapse as a material index of social experiences of climate change. Focusing on the increasing vulnerability of mountain roads to severe weather conditions, she aims to examine environmental disaster-preparedness as a negotiation between the politics of development, the science of climate adaptation and the everyday cultural perceptions of precarity. Professor Das will also expand her research on the politics of tourism. Beyond the narrow emphasis on the economic parameters of tourism, she is interested in investigating its significance as a contact zone of market-mediated multiculturalism.
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Areas of expertise