Lisa Mitchell is an anthropologist and historian of southern India. Her interdisciplinary research and teaching interests include the multiple genealogies of democracy in India; 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.
Lisa Mitchell's current research interests include the multiple genealogies of democracy in India; 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 and the built environment in South Asia; and commodities in transnational history. She is currently finishing a book entitled Hailing the State: Collective Assembly, Space, and the Politics of Recognition in the History of Indian Democracy. She has also recently begun a new book project provisionally titled, The Multiple Genealogies of Indian Democracy: Global Intellectual History in Translation. 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.
Forthcoming. “Spaces of Collective Representation: Urban Growth, Democracy, and Political Inclusion,” in Eugénie L. Birch, William Burke-White, and Mark Alan Hughes, eds., Cities for All: Issues in Sustainable Urban Development, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Forthcoming. “The Railway Station and New Forms of Political Practice in the History of Indian Democracy,” Chapter 6, in Ralf Roth and Paul van Heesvelde, Eds., The City and the Railway in the World: 19th to 21st Centuries, London: Routledge (ISBN 1472449614, 978-1472449610).
2019 (with Walter Hakala). “South Asia from c. 1750,” in John Considine, ed., The Cambridge World History of Lexicography, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 388-413.
2019. “Participatory and Adversarial Politics: Representing Speech Action, Collective Action and Emotion,” Ch. 3 in Emotions, Mobilisations, and South Asian Politics, Amelie Blom and Stephanie Tawa Lama-Rewal, Eds., Delhi: Routledge.
2019. “Language Regimes and Corporeal Practices of “Making Known”: Speech Action, Collective Assembly, and the Politics of Recognition in India,” Special Issue on Regimes of Language and the Social, Hierarchized Organization of Ideologies, Language and Communication 66: 41-54.
2018. “Civility and Collective Action: Soft Speech, Loud Roars, and the Politics of Recognition,” in Sharika Thiranagama, Tobias Kelly, and Carlos Forment, eds., Special Issue on Civility, Anthropological Theory 18(2-3): 217-247.
2018. “Spaces of Collective Representation: Urban Growth, Democracy, and Political Inclusion,” White Paper Series for World Urban Forum, University of Pennsylvania.
2015. “The Visual Turn in Political Anthropology and the Mediation of Political Practice in Contemporary India,” The Visual Turn: South Asia Across the Disciplines, Sandria Freitag, ed., Routledge.
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.
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 208 (ANTH 201/SAST 508) - Doing Research
SAST 604 (ANTH 503/URBS 504) - Neoliberalism and the City
SAST 629 (ANTH 629) - Money, Markets, and Mutuality: Ethnographic Approaches to Credit, Creditworthiness, and Other Intersections of the Fiscal and the Social
SAST 701 (HIST 702/ANTH 711) - Historical Anthropology
SAST 704 (ANTH 706) - State, Society, & Culture in South Asia
Member of Graduate Groups in Anthropology, History, City and Regional Planning, and International Studies