Nikhil Anand

Associate Professor of Anthropology

339 University Museum

3260 South Street

Philadelphia PA 19104


Nikhil Anand is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the political ecology of cities, read through the different lives of water.  His first book, Hydraulic City (Duke University Press 2017), focuses on the everyday ways in which cities and citizens are made through the everyday management of water infrastructure in Mumbai.  Articles based on this research have also been published in Antipode, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnography and Public Culture. With Hannah Appel and Akhil Gupta, Dr. Anand is also co-editor of a new book, The Promise of Infrastructure (Duke University Press 2018), that focuses on the ways in which infrastructure provides a generative ground to theorize time and politics.

Dr. Anand's new research project, The Urban Sea, attends to the ways in which coastal cities are actively constituted through social and natural relationships with the sea.  This research decenters the "ground" of urban planning and urban theory by examining how fishers and scientists are negotiating the quotidian uncertainties of the sea to do their work.  By attending to these practices, this research proposes to discover other idioms and paradigms with which to inhabit coastal cities in climate changed waters.


Ph.D.: Anthropology, Stanford University, 2011; MESc: Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, 2004; BA.: Reed College, 1998.

Office Hours

On research leave (2018-19)

CV (file)

Research Interests

Environmental anthropology, urban anthropology, political ecology, infrastructure, postcolonial urbanism, citizenship, state formation, critical development studies, water, climate change, the politics of environmental knowledge; South Asia

Selected Publications

Anand, Nikhil, Akhil Gupta and Hannah Appel. 2018. The Promise of Infrastructure. Durham: Duke University Press. link

Anand, Nikhil. 2017. Hydraulic City: Water and the Infrastructures of Citizenship in Mumbai.  Durham: Duke University Press. link

Anand, Nikhil. 2016. Hydraulic Publics. Special issue on Public Infrastructures/ Infrastructural Publics. Limn 7. link

Anand, Nikhil. 2015.  Leaky States: Water Audits, Ignorance and the Politics of Infrastructure.  Public Culture 27(2): 305-330. link

Appel, Hannah, Nikhil Anand & Akhil Gupta. 2015.  The Infrastructure Toolbox. Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropology Online. link

Anand, Nikhil. 2012. Municipal Disconnect: On Abject Water and its Urban Infrastructures.  Ethnography 13(4): 487-509. link

Anand, Nikhil. 2011. Pressure: The Polytechnics of Water Supply in Mumbai.  Cultural Anthropology 26(4): 542-563. link

Anand, Nikhil and Anne Rademacher. 2011. Housing in the Urban Age: Inequality and Aspiration in Mumbai.  Antipode 43(5) (2011): 1748-1772. link 

Anand, Nikhil. 2006. Disconnecting Experience: Making World Class Roads in Mumbai.  Economic and Political Weekly 41: 3422-3429. link

Anand, Nikhil. 2006. Planning Networks: Processing India's National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. Conservation and Society 4(3): 471-487. link

Courses Taught

ANTH294. Global Cities: Urbanization in Most of the World

ANTH297. Nature Culture Environment

ANTH547. Lives of Infrastructure


Graduate Group, City and Regional Planning

Faculty Working Group, Penn Program in Environmental Humanities



Faculty Status