Harini Kumar

Lecturer in Anthropology
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies

Harini Kumar is a postdoctoral research associate at the M.S. Chadha Center for Global India. She is a sociocultural anthropologist whose research focuses on Islam and Muslim societies in contemporary India. Her scholarship lies at the intersection of lived religion, kinship, gender, the built environment, and migration and mobility. Her current book project, “Formations of Tamil Islam: Belonging, Place, and Historical Consciousness in South India,” examines the lived experience of Muslims in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu within the broader context of Hindu nationalism. At the same time, this research asks how we can understand contemporary Muslim life outside the shadow of a Hindu majoritarian and nationalist discourse. Harini's work seeks to push past statist discourses of citizenship toward a more expansive understanding of belonging that draws on traditions whose continued vitality precedes the dominant notion that belonging can only be mediated by the nation-state and its technologies of exclusion. At Princeton, Harini will be working on a project called “Dissent: Power/less in India,” a cross-disciplinary initiative among Princeton specialists in South Asian Studies that seeks to explore the generation and negotiation of political vocabularies in a range of quotidian sites.

Harini received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in June 2022. Her research has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the American Institute of Indian Studies, and by several programs at the University of Chicago. Harini is also participating in a multi-year, collaborative research project, “Logistics in the Making of Mobile Worlds,” funded by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago. She manages the multi-platform social media campaign, ‍#Logistics in the Time of Covid, that documents logistical disruptions to social life during the COVID-19 pandemic and showcases diverse audiovisual forms of representation.