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Dr Alpa Shah

Alpa Shah small pic|Alpa Shah is Associate Professor (Reader) in the Department of Anthropology at the LSE. She read Geography at Cambridge, trained in Anthropology at the LSE, and taught anthropology at Goldsmiths until 2013 when she returned to the LSE.

Alpa's research and writing focuses on poor and marginalised people in India and Nepal. She explores the processes of inequality people get caught in and the various ways in which they try to subvert them. She has lived for several years as an anthropologist amidst the people she writes about.

Her first book, In the Shadows of the State|, was on the indigenous rights and politics of Adivasis in Jharkhand, India. After the Maoist inspired People's War ended in Nepal, Alpa led a British Academy funded research collaboration on  Inequality and Affirmative| Action| with colleagues in Nepal, India, US and the UK to understand the lessons from positive discrimination processes in India for the emerging political and policy processes in Nepal. 

Alpa is currently writing a book on India’s Maoist inspired Naxalite revolutionary struggle, a more than forty-year-old insurgency trying to seize power of the state to create a communist society. She is also leading the Programme of Research on Inequality and Poverty|, funded by major research grants from the ESRC and the EU.

Selected publications

2014  'The Muck of the Past: Revolution and Social Transformation in Maoist India'. Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute 20: 337-356 (The Malinowski Memorial Lecture, 2012).

2014 ‘Religion and the Secular Left: Subaltern Studies, Birsa Munda and Maoists’|. Anthropology of this Century 9. 

2014 'La lutte révolutionnaire des maoïstes continue en Inde'| (article adapted by Jean-Paul Gaudillère and Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal). Mouvements 77 (1): 55-75.

2014 ‘Savage Attack: Adivasi Insurgency in India|'  (Edited with Crispin Bates). New Delhi: Social Science Press.

2013 'Response to Nandini Sundar's Response to 'The Tensions Over Citizenship in a Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary Situation: The Maoists in India'|. Critique of Anthropology 33: 476-479.

2013 ‘The Underbelly of the Indian Boom’|. (Edited with Stuart Corbridge). Special Issue of Economy and Society 42: (3). (With essays by Jonathan Parry; Laura Bear; Barbara Harriss-White, Wendy Olsen, Penny Vera-Sanso and V. Suresh; Grace Carswell and Geert De Neve; Stuart Corbridge and Manoj Srivastava; Alpa Shah; John Harriss and Craig Jeffrey).
Includes:
Corbridge, Stuart and Alpa Shah (2013) ‘Introduction: The Underbelly of the Indian Boom’|. Economy and Society 42 (3): 335-347.
Shah, Alpa (2013) ‘The Intimacy of Insurgency: Beyond Coercion, Greed, or Grievance in Maoist India’|. Economy and Society 42 (3): 480-506.

2013 ‘Agrarian Questions and Left Politics in India’|. (Edited with Jens Lerche and Barbara Harriss-White) Special Issue of Journal of Agrarian Change 13: (3). (With essays by John Harriss; Deepankar Basu and Debarshi Das; Jens Lerche; Isabelle Guérin; and Alpa Shah).
Includes:
Lerche, Jens, Alpa Shah and Barbara Harriss-White (2013) ‘Introduction: Agrarian Questions and Left Politics in India’|. Journal of Agrarian Change 13 (3): 337-350.
Shah, Alpa (2013) ‘The Agrarian Question in a Maoist Guerrilla Zone: Land, Labour and Capital in the Forests and Hills of Jharkhand, India’|. Journal of Agrarian Change 13 (3): 424-450.

2013 ‘Conservative Force or Contradictory Resource? Education and Affirmative Action in Jharkhand, India’|. (with Rob Higham). COMPARE: A Journal of Comparative and International Education 43 (6): 718-739.

2013 ‘Towards an Anthropology of Affirmative Action’|. (Edited with Sara Shneiderman). Special Issue of Focaal, Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology Spring 2013. Vol 65. (With essays by Townsend Middleton; Megan Moodie; Bengt Karlsson; Sara Shneiderman; Lucia Michelutti and Oliver Heath; Clarinda Still; and Rob Higham and Alpa Shah).
Includes:
Alpa Shah and Sara Shneiderman (2013) ‘The Practices, Policies and Politics of Transforming Inequality in South Asia’|. Focaal, Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology (65): 3-10.
Rob Higham and Alpa Shah (2013)‘Affirmative Action and Political Economic Transformations: Secondary Education, Indigenous People and the State in Jharkhand, India'|. Focaal, Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology (65): 80-93.

2010. ‘In the Shadows of the State: Indigenous Politics, Environmentalism and Insurgency in Jharkhand, India|’. Durham (N.C.): Duke University Press. An Indian edition| has been published in 2011 by Delhi: Oxford University Press.

2014 Emancipatory Politics and Armed Struggle in the World Today: A Critique from Within (Edited with Stephan Feuchtwang). London: Zed Books. Forthcoming.

2014 ‘Savage Attack: Adivasi Insurgency in India|'  (Edited with Crispin Bates). New Delhi: Social Science Press.

2013 ‘The Underbelly of the Indian Boom'| (Edited with Stuart Corbridge). Special Issue of Economy and Society 42: (3).

2013 ‘Agrarian Questions and Left Politics in India|'  (Edited with Jens Lerche and Barbara Harriss-White). Special Issue of Journal of Agrarian Change 13: (3).

2013 ‘Towards an Anthropology of Affirmative Action: the practices, policies and politics of transforming inequality in South Asia|' (Edited with Sara Shneiderman). Special Issue of Focaal, Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology Spring 2013. Vol 65.

2012 ‘Windows Into a Revolution: Ethnographies of Maoism in India and Nepal’|  (Edited with Judith Pettigrew). New Delhi: Social Science Press. An earlier version of this edited collection was published as a Special Double Issue of Dialectical Anthropology 33 (3/4), 2009.

2006. ‘A Double-edged Sword: Protection and State Violence|’ (Edited with Toby Kelly).  Special Issue of Critique of Anthropology 26 (3).

2014 'The Muck of the Past: Revolution and Social Transformation in Maoist India'. Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute 20: 337-356 (The Malinowski Memorial Lecture, 2012).

2014 'Religion and the Secular Left: Subaltern Studies, Birsa Munda and Maoists|'. Anthropology of this century 9.

2014 'La lutte révolutionnaire des maoïstes continue en Inde|' (article adapted by Jean-Paul Gaudillère and Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal). Mouvements 77 (1): 55-75.

2013 'Response to Nandini Sundar's Response to 'The Tensions Over Citizenship in a Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary Situation: The Maoists in India'.| Critique of Anthropology 33: 476.

2013  ‘The Intimacy of Insurgency: Beyond Coercion, Greed, or Grievance in Maoist India'.| Economy and Society 42 (3): 480-506.

2013 ‘Introduction: The Underbelly of the Indian Boom’| (with Stuart Corbridge). Economy and Society 42 (3): 335-347.

2013 ‘The Agrarian Question in a Maoist Guerrilla Zone: Land, Labour and Capital in the Forests and Hills of Jharkhand, India'.| Journal of Agrarian Change 13 (3): 424-450.

2013 ‘Introduction: Agrarian Questions and Left Politics in India’| (with Jens Lerche and Barbara Harriss-White). Journal of Agrarian Change 13 (3): 337-350.

2013 ‘The Tensions Over Liberal Citizenship in a Marxist Revolutionary Situation: The Maoists in India'.|  Critique of Anthropology 33 (1): 91-109.

2013 ‘Preface|’  (with Bernard D’Mello). An Anthology of José Carlos Mariátegui. Translated by Mark Becker and Harry Vanden. Delhi: Cornerstone Publications.

2013. 'The Anti-politics of 'Declarations of Dependence'.| Comment on James Ferguson. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 19 (2): 254-256.

2013 ‘Conservative Force or Contradictory Resource? Education and Affirmative Action in Jharkhand, India’|  (with Rob Higham). COMPARE: A Journal of Comparative and International Education 43 (6): 718-739.

2013 ‘Affirmative Action and Political Economic Transformations: Secondary Education, Indigenous People and the State in Jharkhand, India|' (with Rob Higham). Focaal, Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology Spring 2013. (65): 80-93.

2012 ‘In Search of Certainty in Revolutionary India'|,  in Windows into a Revolution, Alpa Shah and Judith Pettigrew, (eds)  New Delhi: Social Science Press. An earlier version of this edited collection was published as a Special Double Issue of Dialectical Anthropology 33 (3/4), 2009.

2012‘Eco-incarceration? Walking with the Comrades'.|  Economic and Political Weekly May 26 2012. XLVII (21): 32-34. Commentary on Arundhati Roy’s (2012) Broken Republic.

2012 Éliminer la class, la caste et ‘indigénéité dans l’Inde maoïste|’.  Terrain: Revue d’ethnologie de l’Europe. Pourquoi Coopérer? 58: 64-81.

2011‘Resurrecting Scholarship on Agrarian Studies in India'| (with Barbara Harriss-White). Economic and Political Weekly XLVI, 39: 13-18.

2011 ‘India Burning: the Maoist Movement’ in, A Companion to the Anthropology of India, Isabelle Clark-Decès, (eds) Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

2010‘Alcoholics Anonymous: the Maoist Movement in Jharkhand, India'.|  Modern Asian Studies 45 (5): 1095-1117.

2009‘Morality, Corruption and the State: Insights from Jharkhand, Eastern India'.| Journal of Development Studies 45 (3): 295-313.

2007 ‘Keeping the State Away: Democracy, Politics and Imaginations of the State in India’s Jharkhand'.| Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute 13 (1): 129-145.

2006 ‘The Labour of Love: Seasonal Migration from Jharkhand to the Brick Kilns of Other States in India'.| Contributions to Indian Sociology (n.s) 40 (1): 91-119.

2006‘Markets of Protection: The Maoist Communist Centre and the State in Jharkhand, India’.| Critique of Anthropology 26 (3): 297-314.

2010 ‘India’s Red Belt|’ – a BBC Radio 4 ‘Crossing Continents’ 30 minute radio documentary broadcast on 6.5.2010 and on BBC World Service ‘Assignments Series’ broadcast on 27.5.2010.

2010 ‘From Our Own Correspondent|’ - on the guerrilla insurgency - BBC Radio 4 broadcast of 1.5.2010 and on BBC World Service on 30.4.2010.

2012 ‘Red Tape| ’ – a discussion with Laurie Taylor and Akhil Gupta on poverty programmes in India on BBC Radio 4 ‘Thinking Allowed’ broadcast on 28.11.12.

2014 'Faith and Doubt'| - an ethnographic study into political and spiritual convictions in an age of uncertainty with Laurie Taylor and Dr Mathijs Pelkmans on BBC Radio 4 'Thinking Allowed' broadcast on 20.1.2014 

2008 Is Yosemite a better home for the Wild Elephants of Jharkhand, India?| - Resonance 104.4 FM broadcast on 22.08.2008

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