Well-known Anthropologist visits UCT

15 Aug 2011 - 13:24

gupta big World renowned scholar, Professor Akhil Gupta, will be visiting the Department of Social Anthropology from mid August to mid September this year. He is visiting UCT as an A.W. Mellon Visiting Fellow and whilst in South Africa, he will present a public lecture entitled "Is India's Growth Sustainable? The Paradoxes of Progress". He will also deliver a keynote address at the annual Conference of Anthropology Southern Africa and will be a guest speaker at the Social Anthropology Department's annual Monica Wilson Memorial Lecture.

Professor Gupta, who is widely published and extensively cited, has focused his research on the anthropology of the state and post-colonialism, including the challenges that development interventions introduce, and of social boundary construction and its consequences. India has long been his primary ethnographic focus, particularly the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Born in Jaipur, the capital city of Rajistan, Gupta completed his undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering at Western Michigan University and obtained a PhD in Engineering-Economics from Stanford University. A particular work, among the many for which Professor Gupta is widely known, is the much cited essay, "Beyond Culture': Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference" in which he and James Ferguson discuss cultural difference as a mechanism of the state and capital. Gupta is currently Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

According to Associate Professor 'Mugsy' Spiegel, of the Department of Social Anthropology, Professor Gupta's work has long been particularly significant in courses taught in the department. "We very much look forward to his visit which we know will be of tremendous value to our graduate students, especially those with an interest in the anthropology of development and in alternative knowledge" said Associate Professor Spiegel. Professor Gupta will also be drawing on his most recent book, Red Tape: Bureaucracy, Structural Violence, and Poverty in India to teach an undergraduate Social Anthropology class at UCT.

Professor Gupta's public lecture, "Is India's Growth Sustainable? The Paradoxes of Progress" on 31 August is open to all. The venue for this event will be communicated via the Faculty of Humanities online calendar.