My research interests are situated around climate and energy
I was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the School of Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven Institute of Technology (TUe) from 2016 to 2020 where I worked on a Dutch Research Council Responsible Innovation programme (NOW-MVI) funded project on smart grids in India. Here I divided my time equally between researching social and institutional aspects of off-grid smart energy systems and teaching on issues of globalisation, development and sustainability at various undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
In an earlier avatar, I worked in a small Indian consultancy
firm on carbon finance and feasibility assessment of small-scale renewable
energy projects in South Asia. I have a PhD in Geography from Durham University
where my thesis was on social and cultural aspects
I am bridging ideas from my doctoral and postdoctoral
research to develop postcolonial/anticolonial approaches for climate and energy
justice. I am developing this work conceptually on the interfaces of knowledge
The main contributions of my research have been on:
development geographies of energy:
First, I have been thinking about the social and material infrastructure
for maintaining energy access and transitions.
I have made theoretical interventions to understand how morality and politics of improvisation modulate the role of local and expert knowledge. With this, I further the geographies of improvisation. Second, working with the idea of trusteeship, I propose that techniques of expertise, legitimacy, and subjectivity are involved in politics of governing energy for development projects by non-state actors. Third, drawing on postcolonial theory, I (with Dr Taylor Aiken) have argued for an understanding of community (in community energy) as fluid bonds of solidarity that align and realign differently around different purposes.
cultures: I have been enquiring how
social and cultural practices propagate and are propagated by particular meanings
of light and dark, and how these tailor
people’s energy use. Comparing these
processesin India and the UK (with Dr Shaw), I have argued that there are differences in how the arrival and departure of artificial lighting is perceived in these sites, their similarities demonstrate a planetary connectedness, outside the claims of urbanisation.
- Energy justice and
‘smartness’: I have showed that owing to the interactions between project designs and local culture, energy access projects end up reinforcing the benefits of dominant social groups while excluding subaltern groups. Smartness, when employed in normative digital/technical sense exacerbates these effects. A more nuanced understanding of ‘smartness’ that includes social, economic and governmental aspects can create socially more equitable and responsive energy systems.
Developing these further, there are two future research pathways I am exploring:
Post-colonial solidarities and politics of energy transitions: As part of a new research agenda I am developing on India’s growing role in the field of energy developments in Sub-Saharan Africa around two small projects.
The first project is titled ‘Between post-colonial solidarity for
sustainable energy transitions and neo-colonial extraction: Investigating
The second project is titled ‘The Politics of Quality and Standards: A
cultural economy of Indian solar products in East Africa’. This is in
collaboration with colleagues from University of Cambridge. This project
examines how particular ideas of quality and
- Anthropocene and anticolonial politics
of climate justice: Here I ask what
kind of ethical community might we work towards to reconcile our dilemma
of finding unity in a
climate-changed world while keeping a politics of difference alive.
Keeping decolonisation at the centre of my epistemological endeavour, I teach on multiple undergraduate and postgraduate modules on the following themes:
- Environmental geography: climate justice and politics, energy transitions and energy justice, Anthropocene
- Critical Development geography: alternatives to development, development and environment
- Difference: race, gender, caste, culture
I currently supervise PhD students on following topics:
- Energy access and justice in global South
- Climate change adaptation and indigenous knowledge (supervised with Physical Geography colleague)
- Climate change finance in global south
I am interested in hearing from prospective PhD students interested in overlaps of climate justice, energy justice, energy transitions, infrastructure, environmental geographies, critical development studies and postcolonial studies.
Public engagement/impact activities
You can get in touch with me here:
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