Nikhil Anand to Become First Associate Faculty Director of CASI


On July 1, Nikhil Anand, Associate Professor of Anthropology, will become the first associate faculty director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI).

“Nikhil’s outstanding record as a scholar and a leader of global research initiatives make him well-suited to this important role,” said Steven J. Fluharty, Dean and Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience. “CASI is integral to Penn Arts & Sciences’ mission, and appointments like this one will ensure that the Center continues its history of excellence.”

Anand will serve a range of roles that will help broaden the Center’s intellectual mission and reinforce its role in the wider university. These activities include expanding CASI’s research into new areas, mentoring students participating in CASI Student Programs, hosting scholars, policymakers, and practitioners on campus, and organizing events and activities in India.

“Nikhil Anand’s research has been highly influential in shaping our understanding of critical challenges facing India, from urban infrastructures to rising seas,” said Tariq Thachil, Madan Lal Sobti Professor for the Study of Contemporary India and Director of CASI. “We are delighted and fortunate to have him join us as CASI’s first ever Associate Faculty Director. His addition will considerably broaden CASI’s research and programmatic activities.”

Anand’s research focuses on cities, infrastructure, state power, and climate change. He addresses these questions by studying the political ecology of cities, read through the different lives of water. Anand is the author of numerous books, including the award-winning, Hydraulic City: Water and the Infrastructures of Politics in Mumbai, which examines the everyday ways in which cities and citizens are made through the everyday management of water infrastructure. His new book project, Urban Seas, decenters the grounds of urban planning by drawing attention to the ways in which climate-changed seas are remaking coastal cities today.

“For over thirty years, CASI has been a capacious center for cutting edge research on contemporary South Asia,” said Anand. “I am excited to join CASI as its Associate Faculty Director and to work towards deepening and broadening its research agenda—particularly on questions of environment and climate—in the coming years.”

Since its founding in 1992 as the first academic research center in the U.S. for the study of contemporary India, CASI has continued to uphold Penn’s global reputation as a leading U.S. institution of research in South Asian studies and scholarship on India. Recognized as a national resource and social science center, CASI fulfills Penn’s mission of providing students a durable foundation for critical and creative thinking by engaging in policy-relevant research focused on the challenges facing contemporary India. In addition, the Center facilitates student research abroad, helping to mold the next generation of scholars.

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