Ruparelia, Sanjay

Sanjay Ruparelia
Ph.D., University of Cambridge, 2006
M.Phil, Sociology and Politics of Development (Distinction), University of Cambridge, 1996
B.A. (First Class Honors), Political Science, McGill University, 1994
Assistant Professor of Politics and Fellow of the India China Institute

My research addresses the politics of democracy, equality and development in the postcolonial world; the prospects and difficulties of power-sharing in federal coalition governments in deeply diverse democracies; and the role of institutions, power and judgment in politics. I pursue these broad thematic concerns within the context of three large-scale transformations that have reshaped India since the 1970s: liberal economic reform, militant Hindu nationalism and popular democratic mobilization. A problem-oriented approach guides my work, highlighting the practicalities of politics, grounding analytical questions in historical context and developing conceptual tools, theoretical paradigms and research methods inductively to answer critical empirical questions. My scholarship to date, which engages democratic theory, comparative politics and political economy of development, comprises two broad stages. The first phase investigated the role of party elites, coalition strategies and macro political institutions to explain the rise, impact and decline of the broader Indian left. The second phase, which constitutes my present work, analyzes the role of lawyers, activists and judges in expanding social welfare and public accountability in an era of rapid economic growth, mounting corruption and growing inequalities. Although India remains my primary region of inquiry, my new research encompasses analogous developments in post-Maoist China, part of a longer-term effort to analyze the trajectory of capitalist development, political contestation and social well-being in both countries.
Courses Taught:

Undergraduate: Contesting Economic Inequalities, The Transformations of India and China, Global Development, Making Political Judgments
Graduate: Conceptions of Democracy, Great Transformations, South Asian Politics, Political Economy of Development
Representative Publications:
Divided We Govern: Coalition Politics in Modern India (London: Hurst & Company, December 2014; under review for co-publication with Oxford University Press, New York and New Delhi)
Recent Publications:


Understanding India’s New Political Economy: A Great Transformation? (London: Routledge, 2011) co-edited with Sanjay Reddy, John Harriss and Stuart Corbridge; contributors include Partha Chatterjee, Nandini Gooptu, Rob Jenkins, Arjun Jayadev, Sripad Motiram, Vamsi Vakulabharanam, Niraja Gopal Jayal, Patrick Heller, Radhika Desai, James Manor and Achin Vanaik.

Edited journal sections

“Introduction,” Critical Reflections on Perry Anderson, The Indian Ideology, Constellations, 21, 2 (June 2014): 162-163; essays by Nivedita Menon, Partha Chatterjee and Sudipta Kaviraj, 164-198.

Refereed journal articles, book chapters and working papers

“India’s new rights agenda: genesis, promises, risks,” Pacific Affairs, 86, 3 (September 2013): 569-590.
“A progressive juristocracy? The unexpected social activism of India’s Supreme Court” (Kellogg Institute Working Paper #391, University of Notre Dame, February 2013): 1-55.
“Growth, reforms and inequality: comparing India and China,” (with Lopamudra Banerjee, Ashwini Deshpande, Yan Ming, Vamsicharan Vakulabharanam and Wei Zhong) in Amiya K. Bagchi and Anthony P. D’Costa (eds), Transformation and Development: the political economy of transition in India and China (New Delhi: Oxford University Press: 2012), 173-198.
“Expanding Indian democracy: the paradoxes of the third force,” in Ruparelia et al., Understanding India’s New Political Economy, 186-203.
“How the politics of recognition enabled India’s democratic exceptionalism,” International Journal for Politics, Culture and Society–Special Issue on the 
Work of Charles Taylor, 21, 4 (December 2008): 39-56.
“Rethinking institutional theories of political moderation: the case of Hindu nationalism in India, 1996-2004,” Comparative Politics, 38, 3 (April 2006): 317-337.
“Managing the United Progressive Alliance: the challenges ahead,” Economic & Political Weekly, 40, 24 (11 June 2005): 2407-2413.

Non-refereed articles, chapters and reports

“Democratic India and authoritarian East Asia: are economic and political systems converging?” in Omar Noman, Responsible Development: vulnerable democracies, hunger and inequality (London: Routledge, 2010), 167-191.
“The role of judgment in explanations of politics” (Political Methodology Working Paper 29, Committee on Concepts & Methods, International Political Science Association, May 2010)
“Governance and development in Afghanistan,” (co-authored) in Ruth Rennie (ed.), State Building, Security and Social Change in Afghanistan: reflections on a survey on the Afghan people (Kabul: The Asia Foundation, 2008), 113-140.

Work in progress books

Contesting a Right to Welfare: law, citizenship and accountability in India (book manuscript)
India as Ideology: three responses to Perry Anderson (edited volume)

Work in progress articles and chapters

“Contesting the law: courts and constitutionalism in India and China” (available upon request)
“Postneoliberal welfare: reflections from India” (in preparation)
“Struggling to see: the politics of welfare in post-liberalization India” (in preparation)
“Prosperity, inequality and corruption: social policy reforms in India and China” (in preparation)

Office Location:
Room 713, 6 East 16th Street
Phone Number/Extension:
212-229-5747, ext. 3083

Awards and Honors:

Selective Awards

Inter-Asia Fellowship, Social Science Research Council/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2013-2014)

Visiting Fellowship, Democracy and Development, Princeton University (2012-2013)

Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies (2012-2013)

Faculty Research Fund, Office of the Provost, New School (2012-2013)

Visiting Fellowship, Kellogg Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame (Spring 2009)

Faculty Research Fellowship, India China Institute, New School (2008-2010)

Columbia-LSE Alliance Collaborate Research Fund Grant (2005)

Commonwealth Scholarship & Fellowship Award (1997-99)

Fox International Fellowship, Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University (1996-97)

Sidney Sussex College Graduate Grant, University of Cambridge (1996-99)

Undergraduate Fellowship, Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation (1991-94)

CV (pdf):

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