Nikita Sud is Professor of the Politics of Development at the University of Oxford. She is Governing Body Fellow and Vicegerent of Wolfson College, and a faculty member of the Oxford Department of International Development. She is an interdisciplinary scholar, educated at the Universities of Delhi and Oxford. Nikita’s research centers on the making of the state, space, and nature in the Global South, with a particular focus on Asia. Her latest book is The Making of Land and The Making of India, published by Oxford University Press in 2021. Her current research investigates nature in green energy transitions in South, South East and East Asia. Nikita Suds research breaks boundaries of discipline, race and gender in knowledge-making, and nature versus culture. Her current study rethinks land, and our relations with it. Is land a border, farm, real estate, ancestral rest, sacred, or an amalgam? How is it made and remade by us; and how does this shape us in turn? What are the implications of land’s multidimensionality for climate critical times? She advances a theory of ‘unfixed land’ that is at the heart of a dynamic but precarious human existence. Her research makes a radical intervention in how we see land, and understand its entanglement with our social, political, and economic life. Moving between scholarly views, and field sites in her case: India, she presents land as multidimensional, and in the making. It traverses porous registers of territory, property, authority, history and memory, and contested access and exclusion. India’s contemporary institutions attempt to render land suitable for ‘growth’ and ‘development’. Yet, their relationship with the soil is never straightforward. A state settling a layered topography is stretched into shadowy domains. A market is advanced, but remains embedded in sociality. Politics challenges the land-making of the state and markets; it also effects compromises. Our ongoing engagement with multidimensional, dis/ordered land is the making of our own dis/orders. In centering nature in our everyday, her work is at the frontier of a nature-sensitive, climate conscious turn in social science.

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