1 George Kunnath
Dr George Kunnath

Dr George Kunnath

Assistant Professorial Research Fellow

International Inequalities Institute

Room No
CBG 12.05
English, Hindi, Malayalam
Key Expertise
Anthropology of Poverty, Inequality, Conflict & Development, Social Theory

About me

George Kunnath is a social anthropologist. His work focuses on the everyday world of Dalit and Adivasi communities living amidst India’s Maoist insurgency and counterinsurgency; on caste and class relations; relationality of poverty, inequality, conflict and development; and research ethics. At the International Inequalities Institute, he is part of the coordination team for the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity (AFSEE) programme, and is engaged in a research on the politics of caste-based inequalities among the South Asian diasporas in the UK.

Kunnath’s current work also includes a comparative research on armed conflicts and peace processes, focusing on the FARC in Colombia and the Maoist movement in India. In particular, this research examines the role of a comprehensive programme of development and transitional justice in the success of a peace process. As part of this project, since 2017 he has conducted three periods of fieldwork in Colombia (2017 and 2019) and India (2018).

Kunnath received his PhD in Social Anthropology from SOAS, University of London (2008), and held research fellowships at Goldsmiths College, University of London (2008 to 2011), Wolfson College, Oxford (2013 to 2019), and visiting fellowships at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá (2017), Instituto Colombiano Estudios Superiore de Incolda (ICESI) University in Cali (2019), and Asia Culture Centre in Gwangju, South Korea (2019). As Departmental Lecturer (2012 to 2017) at the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies (now Oxford School of Global and Area Studies), University of Oxford, Kunnath taught Anthropology of India and Research Methods courses for the MSc in Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme. He also worked as Director of Graduate Studies (2013 to 2017) for this programme. He has taught courses in Social Anthropology, Social Theory, and Anthropology of South Asia at SOAS and Goldsmiths College.

Expertise Details

Anthropology of Poverty; Inequality; Conflict & Development; Social Theory; Research Ethics



Kunnath, G.J. Rebels from the Mud Houses: Dalits and the Making of the Maoist Revolution in Bihar. London: Routledge, 2017 (First published by Social Science Press, Delhi, 2012).

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Kunnath, G.J. “Janathana Sarkar (people’s government): Rebel Governance and Agency of the Poor in India’s Maoist Guerrilla Zones.” Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power(published online: 24 May 2021 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1070289X.2021.1928981?src=

Kunnath, G.J. “Doni the Anthropologist's Dog: A Scent of Ethnographic Fieldwork.” Anthropology Now (published online: 30 Apr 2021 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19428200.2020.1884482

Kunnath, G.J. “Sanskritization: The Inheritance of an Ideational Category”. In S. Jodhka & J. Naudet (eds). The Oxford Handbook of Caste in Contemporary Times. New Delhi: Oxford University Press (Forthcoming).

Kunnath, G.J. “The ‘Child Comrades’ of India’s Maoist Movement: Narratives of Resistance and Resilience.” Gwangju: Asia Culture Centre Publication (Forthcoming).

Kunnath, G.J. “Dalit Responses to the Caste System: Rethinking Resistance”. In S. Murru & A. Polese (eds). Resistances: Between Theories and the Field. London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2020.

Kunnath, G.J. “Caste and Social (Dis)Integration: Exploring Theoretical Transitions”. In C. Kim and R. Kumar (eds). Great Transition in India: Critical Explorations. Singapore: World Scientific, 2020.

Kunnath, G.J. “Anthropology’s Ethical Dilemmas: Reflections from the Maoist Fields of India.” Current Anthropology,54 /6 (2013): 740-752.

Kunnath, G.J. “Compliance or Defiance: The case of Dalits and Mahadalits.” Journal of Anthropological Society of Oxford, 5/1 (2013): 36-59.

Kunnath, G.J. ‘Smouldering Dalit Fires in Bihar, India.’ In A. Shah and J. Pettigrew (eds). Windows into a Revolution: Ethnographies of Maoism in South Asia, pp. 89-112. Delhi: Social Science Press, 2011. (Republication of the article from Dialectical Anthropology)

Kunnath, G.J. “Smouldering Dalit Fires in Bihar, India.” Dialectical Anthropology, 33/3 (2009): 309-325.

Kunnath, G.J. “Becoming a Naxalite in Rural Bihar: Class Struggle and its Contradictions.” The Journal of Peasant Studies, 33/1 (2006): 89-23.

Kunnath, G.J. “Under the Shadow of Guns: Negotiating the Flaming Fields of Caste/Class War in Bihar, India.” Anthropology Matters, 6/2 (2004): 1-12.