Rao, Vyjayanthi


Vyjayanthi Rao
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2002
Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Vyjayanthi Rao received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and was a Post-Doctoral Associate at Yale University prior to joining The New School.  Her research focuses on globalization, development and urbanism and she is working on a book project titled The Speculative Ethic and the Spirit of Globalization
Recent Publications:
  • “The Future in Crisis: Mumbai’s 21st Century,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Fall 2008 (forthcoming). 

  • “How to Read a Bomb: Scenes from Bombay’s Black Friday” Public Culture, Vol. 19.3, Fall 2007.

  • “Venture Capital” – Visual Essay with Satya Pemmaraju and Robert Gerard Pietrusko Public Culture, Vol. 19.3, Fall 2007.

  • “Invisible Urbanism/Africa,” Conversation with AbdouMaliq Simone and Filip de Boeck, in Perspecta 39, Yale Journal of Architecture (Fall 2007).

  • “Proximate Distances: The Phenomenology of Density in Mumbai,” in Built Environment, Volume 33, number 2, 2007.

  • “City as Archive: Contemporary Urban Transformations and the Possibility of Politics,” in Education and Urban Life. 20 Years of Educating Cities ed. Lali Bosch (Barcelona: International Association of Educating Cities, 2008).




Research Interests:
Anthropology and Ethnography of South Asia; Urban Culture, Architecture and Infrastructure; Monuments and Material Culture; Displacement, Memory and Citizenship; Ethics, Aesthetics and Globalization.
Professional Affiliations:
Research Associate, Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action and Research (PUKAR), Mumbai, India
Recent Presentations/Exhibits:

Selected Presentations

    “Geographies of Inequality: Scale and Mobility in Defining the Commons,” with Arjun Appadurai in The Contested Commons: Conversations between Economists and Anthropologists, eds. Pranab Bardhan and Isha Ray (London: Blackwell-Wiley: 2008).

  • “Speculative Designs: Urban Games and Social Transformation,” panel presentation for Design, Social Change and Social Science: Catalyzing Interactions” at The New School (February, 2008).

  • “Broadcasting Beijing: An Ethnography of the CCTV Building, Beijing,” presentation for Vexed Urbanism: A Symposium on Design and the Social at The New School (February, 2008).

  • “Strategies of Occupation: Grabbing Land, and the Political Agency of the Artist – A Public Workshop,” panelist at workshop organized by Apex Art Gallery and The Vera List Center for Art and Politics, The New School (November, 2007).

  • “Mobile Media and New Research Paradigms,” presentation for MAKE: A Studio-Based Research Symposium at Parsons The New School for Design (October, 2007).

  • “Art and Research Communities,” presentation in panel on “ReForming India: Artistic Collectives Bend International Art Practices,” curated by Nina Moentman at the Vera List Centre for Art and Politics, The New School, New York (April 2007).

  • “Slum as Theory: Density and Development,” presentation on Urban Metabolism panel, Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, San Francisco (April 2007).

  • “Comedies of Speculation: Making Mumbai a World Class City,” invited presentation, Lectures in Planning Series, Columbia University (April 2007).

  • “Farmers, Bombers and Suicide in the Global Age,” invited presentation for “Global Lies/Local Violence” at the Centre for Contemporary Culture, Barcelona (November 2006).



Awards and Honors:
  • India China Institute, The New School, Faculty Fellowship (2006-2008).

  • Ford Foundation grant as Co-Principal Investigator with Arjun Appadurai for a three-year project titled “Cities, Citizenship and Globalization: An Experiment in Global Capacity Building” (2003-06).

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