Harini Kumar is a postdoctoral research associate at the M.S. Chadha Center for Global India and the Department of History. 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 doctoral dissertation, titled “Formations of Tamil Islam: Belonging, Place, and Historical Consciousness in South India,” examines the everyday practices through which Muslims in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu sustain attachments to multiple traditions, histories, and places within the broader context of Hindu majoritarianism. Her 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. She completed an MA degree in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and an MA degree in Communication from the University of Hyderabad, India. Harini is the recipient of the Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant and the American Institute of Indian Studies Junior Research Fellowship. At Chicago, she was a Martin Marty Center Junior Fellow at the Divinity School and a Dissertation Fellow at the Center for International Social Science Research. 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.