Sarasij Majumder, Ph.D.
Sita and Bhaskara Rao Mutyala Endowed Professor of India Studies
Director of India Studies
Associate Professor, Department of Modern and Classical Languages
Sarasij Majumder, Ph.D. was born and raised in Calcutta, India. A cultural anthropologist, Majumder completed his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Trained as a sociologist at the University of Calcutta and the Delhi School of Economics, Delhi, India, Majumder worked as a ground-level consultant for a World Bank project on health among the urban poor in Delhi. He has also spent several years in rural areas of India studying agriculture, shrimp-cultivation, and other livelihood practices of the villagers.
He has published research articles in internationally reputed anthropology and social science journals, such as Environment and Society, Critique of Anthropology, Dialectical Anthropology, Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology, Economic and Political Weekly, Journal of South Asian Development. He has also contributed chapters to numerous academic anthologies.
Majumder’s book, "People's Car: Industrial India and the Riddles of Populism," published in 2018 by Fordham University Press, New York, looks at the politics around land ownership, representations and commodification of land, and protests and controversies regarding land acquisition for industries in India. Majumder was awarded an American Institute of Indian Studies fellowship and United States National Science Foundation Doctoral Improvement Grant for his research in India. Apart from these, he has won grants from Princeton University's Office of Population Research and Columbia University's Tarak Nath Das Foundation.
His broader research interests include critical political economy, development, and rural change, migration and urbanization in South and South-East Asia. He is also interested in and contributed chapters on critical media studies, economic anthropology, anthropology of neoliberalism, anthropology of globalization and transnationalism, agrarian transition, anthropology of media, environmental anthropology, power and agency, and anthropology of consumption.
Currently, Majumder is working on transnational knowledge transfer, management and outsourcing and its impact on political opinion among the tech workers in the U.S. and Australia. This project is a granular multi-sited examination of strategies that global corporations have developed to capture and archive tacit elements of knowledge-work. Incubated in Indian software companies that specialize in outsourcing, these strategies affect the working conditions, rights and employability of tech-workers from India, the USA and Australia.
Majumder has taught courses on linguistic anthropology, cultures and capitalisms in Asia and beyond, science, technology and society, understanding Asia, anthropological theory and diversity in the United States.
Majumder will be the first person to hold Sita and Bhaskara Rao Mutyala Endowed Professorship in India Studies. The Mutyala family established this endowment to honor and celebrate Sita and Bhaskara Rao Mutyala’s legacy of giving back to educational causes.
Ph.D. 2010, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Cultural Anthropology
M.Phil. 2001, Sociology, Delhi University
M.A. 1999, Sociology, Delhi University
B.A. 1996, Sociology, Calcutta University
Majumder, Sarasij 2018. Peoples Car: Industrial India and the Riddles of Populism, Fordham University Press, New York.
Majumder, Sarasij and S. Gururani. 2022 “Land as an Intermittent Commodity: Ethnographic Insights from India’s Urban-Agrarian Frontiers.” Urbanisation 6(1) 49-63.
Majumder, Sarasij. 2021 “The Gift of Solidarity: Women Navigating Jewelry Work and Patriarchal Norms in Rural West Bengal, India.” Journal of South Asian Development, February, 2021, 1-17.
Majumder, Sarasij 2021 “Structure and Agency,” Lene Pederson and Lisa Cligget ed. Sage Handbook of Cultural Anthropology p.145-164.
Basu, S and Sarasij Majumder. 2020 Coerced Movements and the Unravelling of a People. in Economic and Political Weekly. May 23 2020. p.21-24.
Sen, D. and Sarasij Majumder 2018 "Communities of Hope? Gendered Re-signification of Microcredit in Rural India,” In Niamh McCrea and Fergal Finnegan ed. Funding Power and Community Development (pp. 163-176). Policy Press, Dublin.
Majumder, Sarasij and K. B. Nielsen. 2017 “Should the son of a farmer always remain a farmer? The ambivalence of Industrialization and resistance in West Bengal” in Patrik Oskarson and K.B. Nielsen ed. Industralizing Rural India: Land, policy and resistance, Routledge, New York.
Sen, D. and Sarasij Majumder. 2015 Narratives of Risk: Poor Rural Women’s (dis-) engagements with Microcredit-based Development in Eastern India” in Critique of Anthropology Volume 35. Issue 2.
Majumder, Sarasij 2014 “Development Through Paper Deals: Space and Politics of Value in Peri-urban India” in Dialectical Anthropology Volume 32. Issue 2. pp.172-188.
Majumder, Sarasij 2012 “Who wants to marry a farmer?” Neoliberal industrialization and the politics of land and work in rural West Bengal. Focaal: Journal of Historical and Global Anthropology, Volume 2012. Number 64. Winter. pp. 84-98.
Sen, D. and Majumder, Sarasij. 2011. “Fair Trade and Fair Trade Certification of Food and Agricultural Commodities” in Environment and Society: Advances in Research, Volume 2. Number 1. Issue 64. Winter. pp. 29-47.
Majumder, Sarasij 2010 "The Nano Controversy: Peasant Identities, the Land Question and Neoliberal Industrialization in Marxist West Bengal, India," Journal of Emerging Knowledge on Emerging Markets, Vol. 2. pp.41-55.
Majumder, Sarasij 2010. “Mass Media and Anthropology” in James H. Birx ed. 21st Century Anthropology, Sage Publications, pp. 287-296.
Majumder, Sarasij and Roy, A. 2010. “New Social Classes in India” in Sage Encyclopedia on South, Central and East Asia, Sage Publications, pp. 461-572.
Honors, Awards and Fellowships
American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) Alternate Senior Research Fellow (2017)
Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (No. 0612845) for research in India, 2007, United States National Science Foundation (NSF), Washington, D.C.
American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) Fellowship for Research in India, 2006, American Institute of Indian Studies, Chicago
Taraknath Das Award, 2005, South Asia Program, Columbia University
Graduate School Excellence Fellowship Package for Ph.D. in Anthropology, Rutgers University, 2002
Pre-dissertation Grant, 2003, Princeton’s Office of Population Research, Princeton University