Lisa Mitchell

Associate Professor, Director of the South Asia Center
Contact Information
Office Address: 
801 Williams Hall (820 Williams Hall for mail)
215 -573-2138
Email address: 
Office Hours: 
Mon., 11:00-1:00, or by appointment
Ph.D. (with distinction), Columbia University
M.Phil., Columbia University
M.A. (with distinction), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.A., Oberlin College

Lisa Mitchell is an anthropologist and historian of southern India.  Her interdisciplinary research and teaching interests include political practice, public space, and the built environment; the cultural history of cement in South Asia; ethnography of informal urban credit networks; technology and infrastructure as they impact social, cultural, and political forms and everyday practices; neoliberalism and economic corridors; ethnographic approaches to the state; colonialism; and Telugu language and literature.

Courses taught include:

SAST 002 (ANTH 107/URBS 122) - The City in South Asia

SAST 063 (ANTH 063/HIST 087) - East & West: A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Cultural History of the Modern World

SAST 504 (ANTH 503/URBS 504) - Neoliberalism and the City

SAST 701 (HIST 702/ANTH 711) - Historical Anthropology

SAST 704 (ANTH 706) - State, Society, & Culture in South Asia

Research Interests: 

Lisa Mitchell's current research interests include public space and political protest in the history and everyday practice of Indian democracy; the street and the railway station as public space; the city in South Asia; and commodities in transnational history.  She is currently finishing a book on The Politics of Recognition: Collective Assembly, Public Space, and Political Practice in the History of Indian Democracy.  She has also recently begun a new book project documenting a cultural history of cement in India, provisionally titled, Three Bags of Cement: Concrete Dreams in the New India, which also examines informal urban credit networks.  Her earlier research traced the rise and fall of language as a new foundational category for the reorganization of literary production, history-writing, pedagogical practices, and assertions of socio-political identity in southern India.  Her book, Language, Emotion, and Politics in South India: The Making of a Mother Tongue (Indiana University Press, 2009 and Permanent Black, 2010), was a recipient of the American Institute of Indian Studies' Edward Cameron Dimock, Jr. Prize in the Indian Humanities. 

Selected Publications: 

2014. “The Visual Turn in Political Anthropology and the Mediation of Political Practice in Contemporary India,” South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 37(3): 515-540.

2013.  Translation of Challapalli Swaroopa Rani, “Caste Domination, Male Domination,” in K. Satyanarayana & Susie Tharu, eds., Steel Nibs Are Sprouting: New Dalit Writing From South India, Dossier 2: Kannada and Telugu, Harper Collins (translated from Telugu). 

2011.  “‘To Stop Train Pull Chain’:  Writing Histories of Contemporary Political Practice,” Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol. 48, No. 4: 469-495.

2010.  Language, Emotion, and Politics in South India: The Making of a Mother Tongue, Delhi: Permanent Black.

2009.  Language, Emotion, and Politics in South India: The Making of a Mother Tongue, Bloomington: Indiana University Press.  Recipient of the Edward Cameron Dimock, Jr. Prize in the Indian Humanities, American Institute of Indian Studies.

2009.  “Knowing the Deccan:  Enquires, Points, and Poets in the Construction of Knowledge and Power in Early Nineteenth-Century Southern India,” The Madras School of Orientalism, Thomas R. Trautmann, ed., Delhi: Oxford University Press, 151-182.

2009.  “Knowledge at the Edge of Empire:  Experiencing Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge,” Fringes of Empire, Elizabeth Kolsky & Sameetah Agha, eds., Delhi: Oxford University Press, 236-256.

2006.  “Making the Local Foreign: Shared Language and History in Southern India,” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Vol. 16, No. 2: 229-248.

2005.  “Parallel Languages, Parallel Cultures:  Language as the Foundation for the Reorganization of Knowledge and Practice in Nineteenth Century Southern India,” Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol. 42, No. 4: 445-465.

[image of book]
[image of book]