Prof Nandini Gooptu

Associate Professor of South Asian Studies

Nandini Gooptu is Associate Professor of South Asian Studies at ODID and Fellow of St Antony's College. She was Head of Department between 2012 and 2016.

Educated in Calcutta and at Cambridge, and trained as a social historian, she is the author of The Politics of the Urban Poor in Early-Twentieth Century India (Cambridge University Press, 2001), editor of Enterprise Culture in Neoliberal India (Routledge, 2013), and joint-editor of India and the British Empire (Oxford University Press, Oxford History of the British Empire series, 2012).

While her past research has been on colonial India, her current research is concerned with social and political transformation and cultural change in contemporary India in the wake of economic liberalisation and globalisation.

She has published articles on a variety of subjects, including caste, communal and religious politics, urban development, poverty and labour, work and employment, media and politics, and social movement of sex workers. She has taught at Cambridge and Oxford Universities.

She is a member of the South Asia Panel of the British Academy and of ESRC’s Peer Review College. She is the editor of the South Asian Diversity and Plurality book series of Anthem Press and a member of the editorial board of the South Asian History Series. She is one of the associate editors of Oxford Development Studies.

India's enterprise culture: social and political implications beyond the economy
New cultures of work in contemporary India

For the MPhil in Development Studies, Nandini Gooptu lectures on the History and Politics foundation course and the Core Course. She offers a paper on the History and Politics of South Asia for the MPhils in Development Studies, Politics, and Modern South Asian Studies. She is one of the core teachers for the MSc in Contemporary India at the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies. She also teaches South Asian Politics for the undergraduate PPE degree course. She has previously been the Director of Graduate Studies in Development Studies, the Director of Doctoral Research in International Development and the Course Director and Chair of Examiners of the MPhil in Development Studies. She was the recipient of a University of Oxford Teaching Excellence Award, in 2008, for “Outstanding teaching and commitment to teaching”.

She has supervised over 30 doctoral students, including the current cohort, in the Departments of International Development, Politics, and Sociology, and in the Faculty of Modern History at Oxford. A vast majority of her former students have gone on to take up academic appointments at major universities in the UK, India, USA and elsewhere.

Research Students supervised

Junko Asano
Research Student
Garima Jaju
Research Student
Anjali Krishan
Research Student (PRS)
Soumya Mishra
Research Student
Sana Moyeen
Research Student (PRS)
Ankita Pandey
Research Student
Shannon Philip
Research Student
Emilia Pool Illsley
Research Student

Books and monographs

Gooptu, Nandini (with Jonathan Parry) (2014) 'Persistence of Poverty in India', Delhi: Social Science Press
Gooptu, Nandini (with D Peers) (eds) (2012) 'India and the British Empire', Oxford: Oxford University Press
Gooptu, Nandini (2001) 'The Politics of the Urban Poor in Early Twentieth-Century India', Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Monograph)

Journal articles and special issues

Gooptu, Nandini (with Sneha Krishnan ) (2017) 'Tension', South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 40 (2) 404-06
Gooptu, Nandini (2009) 'Neoliberal Subjectivity, Enterprise Culture and New Workplaces: Organised Retail and Shopping Malls in India', Economic and Political Weekly 44(22) 45-54
Gooptu, Nandini (2007) 'Economic Liberalisation, Work and Democracy: Industrial Decline and the Urban Poor in Kolkata', Economic and Political Weekly 42(21) 1922-33
Gooptu, Nandini (with Nandinee Bandyopadhyay) (2007) ''Rights to Stop the Wrong': Cultural Change and Collective Mobilisation - The Case of Kolkata Sex Workers', Oxford Development Studies 35(3) 251-72
Gooptu, Nandini (1997) 'The Urban Poor and Militant Hinduism in Early Twentieth-century Uttar Pradesh', Modern Asian Studies 31(4) 879-918
Gooptu, Nandini (1996) 'Urban Poverty and the Politics of Caste and Religion in Early Twentieth Century North India: Implications for Development Practice and Research', Oxford Development Studies 24(3) 221-40
Gooptu, Nandini (1996) 'The 'Problem' of the Urban Poor: Policy and Discourse of Local Administration: A Study in Uttar Pradesh in the Interwar Period', Economic and Political Weekly 31(50) 3245-54


Gooptu, Nandini (2017) 'Religious myths retold: Masters and servants in India's corporate culture'. In Daromir Rudnyckyj, Filippo Osella (eds) Religion and the morality of the market , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Gooptu, Nandini (2016) 'Divided We Stand: The Indian City after Economic Liberalisation'. In Knut A Jacobsen (ed) Routledge Handbook of Contemporary India , London: Routledge
Gooptu, Nandini (2014) 'The Construction of Poverty and the Poor in Colonial and Post-colonial India: An Overview'. In Nandini Gooptu, Jonathan Parry (eds) Persistence of Poverty in India , Delhi: Social Science Press
Gooptu, Nandini (2013) 'New Spiritualism and the Micro-politics of Self-making in India's Enterprise Culture'. In N Gooptu (ed) Enterprise Culture in Neoliberal India: Studies in Youth, Class, Work and Media , London: Routledge
Gooptu, Nandini (with R Chakravarty) (2013) 'Reality TV in India and the Making of an Enterprising Housewife'. In N Gooptu (ed) Enterprise Culture in Neoliberal India: Studies in Youth, Class, Work and Media , London: Routledge
Gooptu, Nandini (2012) 'Understanding the Political Legacy of Colonialism'. In D Peers, N Gooptu (eds) India and the British Empire , Oxford: Oxford University Press
Gooptu, Nandini (2011) 'Economic Liberalization, Urban Politics and the Poor'. In S Ruparelia, S Reddy, J Harriss, S Corbridge (eds) Understanding India's New Political Economy: A Great Transformation? pp 35-48 , London, New York: Routledge
Gooptu, Nandini (2002) 'Sex Workers in Calcutta and the Dynamics of Collective Action: Political Activism, Community Identity and Group Behaviour'. In J Heyer, F Stewart, R Thorp (eds) Group Behaviour and Development: Is the Market Destroying Cooperation? pp 227-51 , Oxford: Oxford University Press
Gooptu, Nandini (with R Chakravarty) (2000) 'Imagi-Nation: The Media, Nation and Politics in Contemporary India'. In B Street, E Hallam (eds) Cultural Encounters: Communicating Otherness pp 89-107 , London: Routledge
Gooptu, Nandini (with B Harriss-White) (2000) 'Mapping India's World of Unorganised Labour'. In L Panitch, C Leys (eds) Working Classes, Global Realities: Socialist Register 2001 pp 89-118 , London: Merlin Press
Gooptu, Nandini (1993) 'Caste and Labour: Untouchable Social Movements in Urban Uttar Pradesh in the Early Twentieth Century'. In Peter Robb (ed) Dalit Movements and Meanings of Labour in India pp 277-98 , New Delhi: Oxford University Press

Working papers

Gooptu, Nandini (2000) 'Sex Workers in Calcutta and the Dynamics of Collective Action: Political Activism, Community Identity and Group Behaviour', WIDER Working Papers Helsinki: WIDER United Nations University 185 (May)
13 August, 2015
Nandini Gooptu Invited to Join British Academy South Asia Panel
12 January, 2015
Conference: Skill Development and Social Transformation in India
21 October, 2013
Enterprise Culture in Neoliberal India: New Book Edited by Nandini Gooptu
28 September, 2012
New Book: India and the British Empire Co-edited by Nandini Gooptu
Research interests:

South Asian studies, with a focus on India; globalisation, labour and changing cultures of work in India; youth, politics and poverty; contemporary India's enterprise culture and the complexities of the making of the 'enterprising self', covering workplace culture, the media, mental health and personality development, religion and spirituality, education and skill training; urban development and politics; urbanisation and social history of metropolitan and small-town India; the urban poor and politics; democracy, rights, political identity and social movements.