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 sociology and politics of climate change and green energy; and the changing nature of the state in the global South.
In recent research, Nikita delves into development theory, especially the construct of the global South (see Sud and Sanchez-Ancochea, 2022). She is also undertaking comparative research on the climate crisis, and institutional and political responses to this in South and Southeast Asia. Her work explores the transition to renewable energy, and the institutional, political and financial mechanisms that underlie this in regions that are geostrategically crucial, while being environmentally highly vulnerable. Nikita convenes an MPhil course on ‘climate questions from the global South’. She is keen to supervise critical social science research on the politics of climate change and energy transition, with a focus on Asia.
Nikita has for long studied the socially entangled life of land. In research conducted 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 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).
Previously, she has written 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.
Nikita is enthusiastic about interacting 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, the Sanjaya Lall Prize, and a Falling Walls Social Science award. She serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Peasant Studies, Journal of Contemporary Asia, and Area Development and Policy.
Nikita is ODID Director of Graduate Studies for the academic years 2021-23.