The department is a lively community that is recognised internationally as one of the top centres for research and teaching in development studies.
Nikita Sud’s research and teaching is centred on the politics of development; the neo-liberal transformation of postcolonial states and governance; and the political sociology, economy and ecology of contemporary India.
She has written extensively on the Indian state, in particular, its engagement with development as an idea and in practice; its interaction with minorities based on gender, caste and religion; and the reinvention rather than recession of this entity under economic liberalisation. This long-term research resulted in her 2012 book, Liberalization, Hindu Nationalism and the State: A Biography of Gujarat, which was widely reviewed.
More recently, Nikita studied the socially entangled life of land. In research conducted over more than a decade in west, east and south India, she explored ideas and theories of land. The latter were put in conversation with processes of land-making in relation to state-, politics- and market-making. Alongside a number of publications in Geography, Environment, Development Studies, and Agrarian Studies journals, this research is encapsulated in the monograph The Making of Land and The Making of India (Oxford University Press, 2021).
In future research, Nikita intends to delve into development theory, especially the changing meanings and metaphors of the Global South. She is also initiating comparative research on the intersections of modernity, democracy and anti-democracy in contexts of environmental destruction and global climate change. An iteration of this work on ‘authoritarian environments’ is available in the Journal of Contemporary Asia (Sud 2020).
Prior to joining ODID, Nikita was Lecturer in Politics at the University of York. She has also been an anchor with All India Radio. Nikita is keen to interact with publics beyond the academic. She regularly writes for national and international media. Her research has featured in The Conversation, Thomson Reuters Place, Mongabay, openDemocracy, Los Angeles Times, Al Jazeera, TRT World, Asian Scientist, The Telegraph, The Times of India, The Hindu, The Indian Express, Outlook, Tehelka, The Wire.in, Scroll.in, NDTV, The Tribune, Dainik Bhaskar, East Asia Forum, Mediapart, Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Business, BBC Radio 4, Radio France, and Radio Ö1 of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, among others.
She is a recipient of an Oxford University Teaching Excellence Award, and the Sanjaya Lall Prize. She has served on the editorial board of Oxford Development Studies, and is currently a board member of the Journal of Contemporary Asia and Area Development and Policy. She is Vicegerent of Wolfson College for academic years 2020-22.
Nikita is ODID Director of Graduate Studies for the academic years 2021-23.