Radhika Govindrajan

Assistant Professor
Radhika Govindrajan


Ph.D., Anthropology, Yale University 2013
M.A. History, Jawaharlal Nehru University, 2006

I am a cultural anthropologist who works across the fields of multispecies ethnography, environmental anthropology, gender and sexuality, the anthropology of religion, South Asian Studies, and political anthropology.

My first book Animal Intimacies (University of Chicago Press, 2018; Penguin Random House India 2019) is an ethnography of multispecies relatedness in the Central Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in India. It was awarded the 2017 American Institute of Indian Studies Edward Cameron Dimock Prize in the Indian Humanities; the 2019 Gregory Bateson Prize, by the Society for Cultural Anthropology; and an Honorable Mention for the 2021 Diana Forsythe Prize, jointly awarded by the Society for the Anthropology of Work and the Committee for the Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Computing. Animal Intimacies is an ethnography of the myriad symbolic, material, and affective relationships that villagers in the Central Himalayas have with a variety of nonhuman animals – goats, cows, bears, wild boar, leopards, dogs, and monkeys. Animal Intimacies explores how this relatedness is shaped by wider issues and contexts including colonialism, rural-urban migration, changing religious practices, right-wing nationalism, wildlife conservation, and the politics of gender.

I am currently working on three research projects. The first, a book tentatively titled Sex and the Village: Scandals and the Nature of Rurality in Contemporary India, explores how sex scandals in rural Uttarakhand provided an occasion for people to offer multiple, often conflicting, theories about the changing nature of rurality and the rural. The second project draws on ethnographic and archival work in Uttarakhand to explore  how democratic politics in contemporary India is being constituted anew through emergent discourses and practices of more-than-human sociality, relationality, and responsibility. The third project is concerned with the relationship between elections and broader social life, and examines how electoral discourses and practices and ordinary forms of sociality shape each other in rural and small-town Uttarakhand.

Research Interests

Religion and Society, environmental anthropology, Hindu/Muslim relations, politics of belonging and identity in the Central Himalayas.