School of Social and Political Science

Awanish Kumar

Job Title

British Academy Newton International Fellow


I joined the University of Edinburgh as the British Academy Newton International Fellow in March 2021. 

I am Consulting Editor (Book Reviews) at the Economic & Political Weekly, Mumbai, India. Previously, I have taught in postgraduate programmes at St Xavier’s College, Mumbai and Azim Premji University, Bangalore, India.

My doctoral research, drawing from the writings of Dr B R Ambedkar and a land movement waged by Dalit landless labour in Maharashtra (west India), explored the Dalit Land Question in India. As part of my postdoctoral research, I seek to contextualise the Dalit land question in the larger political philosophy of Ambedkar, and develop a comparative theoretical framework between the Dalit and leftist land movements in India. A further goal is also to enquire into the contemporary and subjective meanings of land vis-à-vis the Dalit land movement and its participants. Finally, I will also explore the tensions between movements for social equality and protection of “commons” with regards the Dalit land demand, as well as the debates concerning the meaning and implications of such terms as “public” and “common” in the movement.

University Education

  • PhD Development Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India, 2012-2019.
  • MPhil, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India, 2010-2012.
  • MA Development Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India, 2007-09.
  • BA Honours in Economics, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. 2004-07.
  • Certificate of Specialization in Sustainable Development, International Graduate School North-South (graduate school of Universities of Basel, Bern, Lausanne, and Zurich) 2019.

Significant Publications (in chronological order)

Book Reviews/Review Articles

  • Reimagining Public Policy Studies in India’: Review of Public Policy: A View from the South by Vishal Narain, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol 55, No 38, pp. 30-32.
  • Autobiography of an Iconoclast’: Review of Gopalganj to Raisina: My Political Journey by Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nalin Verma, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol 50, No 20, pp. 25-28. 
  • The Crisis of the Small Farm Economy in India’: Review of How Do Small Farmers Fare? Evidence from Village Studies in India (2017) by Madhura Swaminathan and Sandipan Baksi (eds.), Tulika Books, New Delhi, Review of Agrarian Studies, Vol. 8, No. 1.
  • Village India: Change and Continuity’: Review of The Changing Village in India: Insights from Longitudinal Research (2016) by Himanshu, Praveen Jha, and Gerry Rodgers (eds.), Oxford University Press, New Delhi, Review of Agrarian Studies, Vol. 7, No. 2.
  • Agrarian Questions: Old and New’: Review of Critical Perspectives on Agrarian Transition: India in the Global Debate (2016) by B B Mohanty (ed.), Routledge, New York, Review of Agrarian Studies, Vol 7, No1.

Research interests

Research interests

My primary interest is in the areas of caste, agrarian/village studies, political economy of development and sociopolitical movements in India. In addition, I am interested in the social determinants of public health, especially caste and gender.

Works within