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Kaushik Sunder Rajan

Portrait of Kaushik Sunder Rajan

Kaushik Sunder Rajan is Professor of Anthropology and a former co-director of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (3CT) at the University of Chicago. He works on the global political economy of the life sciences and biomedicine, with an empirical focus on India, South Africa, and the United States. He is the author of Biocapital: The Constitution of Postgenomic Life (2006) and Pharmocracy: Value, Politics, and Knowledge in Global Biomedicine (2017), and editor of Lively Capital: Biotechnologies, Ethics, and Governance in Global Markets (2012). He is currently embarked on a research project that studies the intersections between health, law, and constitutionalism in South Africa, provisionally titled “Just Health?: Law, Constitutionalism, and Postcolonial Disease.”

Sunder Rajan has long standing interests in ethnographic methods and generating theory from the global South. He is the author of Multi-situated: Ethnography as Diasporic Praxis (Duke University Press). In this book, Sunder Rajan draws upon more than a decade of teaching ethnographic method in light of his own diasporic itinerary to consider the intellectual, pedagogical, and political genealogies and possibilities for multi-sited ethnographic sensibilities and projects, in relation to the disciplinary project of anthropology and the contemporary university.

Combining this investment in multi-situated ethnographic research with interests in the politics of health in South Africa, Sunder Rajan is also involved in a collaborative project with writer Stacy Hardy and composer Neo Muyanga, titled “Pulmonographies“. This project, funded by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago, explores the geographies and biographies of breath, with a focus on colonial histories and postcolonial presents of tuberculosis in South Africa.

Selected publications:

View Kaushik Sunder Rajan’s biography on the Anthropology department’s website.