Moyukh Chatterjee is an assistant professor in the School of Policy and Governance at Azim Premji University. He holds a PhD and an MA in Anthropology from Emory University, MPhil and MA in Sociology from the Delhi School of Economics, and a BA in English Literature from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University. Between 2015-2017, Chatterjee was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Global Governance at the Institute for the Study of International Development at McGill University.
As a social anthropologist, Chatterjee focuses on the ethnography of law, violence, state and politics. His book manuscript, The Impunity Effect: Spectacular Violence and Democracy in India is based on ethnographic research conducted in Gujarat between 2011-13, and is part of a decade long project to understand the relationship between collective violence, public legitimacy, and political power in India. While communal riots and ethnic violence are often described in the media as the breakdown of law and order, and activists and civil society rely on courts for justice, Chatterjee's work shows how lower courts often immunize perpetrators from prosecution.
He shows how state and non-state actors draw on everyday law in India to repackage anti-minority violence to reinforce and deepen state power. Drawing on Chatterjee's decade long engagement with activists, lawyers, survivors, and paralegals in Gujarat, the book reveals a distinctive style of postcolonial governance, one that is based on the ability of a range of political actors to reconcile majoritarian rule with everyday legality. Some parts of this project have appeared in anthropology and interdisciplinary journals, including American Ethnologist, Economic and Political Weekly, Distinktions: A Journal of Social Theory, and Law, Culture and the Humanities.
Research and Teaching interests
Political and legal anthropology; State and state formation; Law and Violence; Everyday politics and right-wing regimes; Urban infrastructure and development; Gujarat, India, South Asia.
Publications and Writings
- 2018 "The Ordinary Life of Hindu Supremacy" EPW, Vol. 53, Issue No. 4, 27 Jan, 2018
- 2017 “The Impunity Effect: Majoritarian rule, everyday legality and state formation in India.” American Ethnologist 44, no. 1: 118-130.
- 2017 “Meter Reading.” Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropology website.
- 2016 “Against the Witness: Hindu Nationalism and the Law in India.” Law, Culture and Humanities.
- 2016 "Bandh politics: crowds, spectacular violence, and sovereignty in India." Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, no. 3: 294-307.
- 2014 "After the Law." Economic and Political Weekly no. 49 (16): 12-15. 2014. Translated into Hindi for Samayanantar.
- 2013 "Modes of Encountering the Survivor of Violence: Reflections from AAA 2013". Fieldsights, Cultural Anthropology website.
- He has been conducting long-term fieldwork with right-wing Hindu activists in Gujarat as part of a larger book project on how right-wing fantasies and imaginations are embedded within volatile neighborhoods.
- He has been tracking the promotion and implementation of mega infrastructure projects in post 2002 Gujarat as forms of postconflict governance.