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Department of Sociology
Mekhala Krishnamurthy
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology,
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
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Education Details
Ph.D. in Anthropology, University College London (UCL), U.K.
M.Phil. in Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, U.K.
B.A. in Social Studies, Harvard University, U.S.A
Professional Experience
2011-2012: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Center for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania
2010-2011: Visiting Dissertation Research Fellow, Center for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania
2012-2013: Faculty, Young India Fellowship Programme, New Delhi
2003-2007: Coordinator, Early Child Health Practice, Social Initiatives Group, ICICI Bank, Mumbai.
Research Interests
Agricultural markets and agrarian change; the everyday state and market; rural development and livelihoods; public health and nutrition; public systems and institutions, reform and regulation.
Select Publications
"The Political Economy of Agricultural Markets: Insights from Within and Across Regions” in IDFC Foundation (ed) India Rural Development Report 2013-2014, Orient Blackswan 2015

“First Transaction, Multiple Perspectives: The Changing Terms of Commodity Exchange in a Regulated Agricultural Market in Madhya Pradesh” in Judith Heyer & Barbara Harriss-White (eds.) Indian Capitalism in Development, Routledge 2014

"Margins and Mindsets: Enterprise, Opportunity and Exclusion in a Market Town in Madhya Pradesh" in Nandini Gooptu (ed.) Enterprise Culture in Neoliberal India: Studies in Youth, Class, Work and Media, Routledge 2013

"States of Wheat: The Changing Dynamics of Public Procurement in Madhya Pradesh" in Economic and Political Weekly, Review of Rural Affairs, vol xlviI no 52, December 2012

with P.S. Vijayshankar, "Understanding Agricultural Commodity Markets" Introduction to special issue of the Review of Rural Affairs, Economic and Political Weekly, vol xlviI no 52, December 2012

"In the Name of the Farmer," India in Transition, Center for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania, January 3, 2012
National and International Recognition
2015-2016: Non-Resident Research Scholar, Center for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania

2012-2013: Fellow, Asia Society's Inaugural India-Pakistan Regional Young Leaders Initiative

2007-2010: Graduate Student Research Scholarship, University College London

2007-2010: Overseas Research Scholarship, University College London (UCL)

2007: UCL Global Excellence Scholarship, awarded to 8 of the most academically outstanding graduate students joining UCL

2002-2003: Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholarship

2002-2003: Emmanuel College (University of Cambridge) Research Studentship

2002: Thomas T. Hoopes Prize (Harvard University) for outstanding scholarly work for undergraduate thesis "In the Shadow of the State, in the Shade of a Tree: The Politics of the Possible in Rural Gujarat"
Executive Summary
Mekhala Krishnamurthy is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at SNU. As a social anthropologist, Mekhala is interested in the ethnographic study of the state and market, and in particular, the political economy, regional histories, everyday lives, knowledge resources, and institutional practices of public systems and programmes in contemporary India. Over the last decade, her research, policy and professional engagements have involved work across a number of field sites and subjects, including women's courts and dispute resolution, community health workers and public health systems, agricultural commodity markets and regulation, and rural development, livelihoods and land acquisition.

Her most recent research project, currently being developed into a book manuscript, traverses three decades of transformation in the social, economic and political lives of an agricultural market (mandi) town in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, the book explores the interconnections of changing agrarian practices, reforming agricultural commodity markets, the dynamics of political participation, and the forces of local, regional and corporate capital as they are experienced and expressed in the everyday lives and relationships of farmers, traders, labourers, state functionaries, and private corporations.

Mekhala received an A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard University, where she was awarded the Thomas T. Hoopes Prize for her thesis on nari adalats, women's courts creatively conducted by and for rural women in the state of Gujarat. She subsequently completed an M.Phil. in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge, where she was the recipient of a Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholarship. Her doctoral work at University College London was supported by a Graduate Student Research Scholarship, an Overseas Research Scholarship, and the UCL Global Excellence Scholarship. Thereafter she held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Centre for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) at the University of Pennsylvania.

In addition to her academic commitments, Mekhala serves on a number of bodies within civil society and independent public institutions.
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