Dr Akanksha Awal

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow


I joined St John’s and the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography in 2020 as Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow. I came to this position after an ESRC Postdoctoral Dellowship at the Department of Education, Oxford. I hold a DPhil in Social Anthropology (Oxford 2019) and an MSc in Global Politics (LSE 2009). Before joining Oxford, I worked as a journalist for the Financial Times where I covered protests against corruption from Delhi, which inspired my doctoral research.  

Research Interests

My work uses affect and emotions to study social and political phenomenon. My current research, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, investigates the role of anger in public life in India. I do so by asking how state institutions, particularly the police, respond to young people’s anger over restrictions on intimate relations in urban India. My doctoral work, forthcoming as a book, investigated how lower middle-class women negotiate sexual freedoms in male-dominated college spaces in Ghaziabad district on the outskirts of Delhi.

 You can read more about this project here: https://www.leverhulme.ac.uk/early-career-fellowships/politics-anger-wilful-women-and-police-contemporary-india


I am interested in supervising work on the anthropology of freedom, gender, and education. Some of the recent projects I have supervised include studying grief during Covid-19 on Instagram and love in South Asia.

Recent Publications 

2021 “Pursuing Pleasure at Work: Friendship and Precarity at North Indian Call Centers” in Work, Society and The Ethical Self, ed. C. Hann. Berghahn.

2022 In search of freedom: gender and public space in North India (Manuscript in preparation).

2014 “Analytic Review of the History, Political Economy and Impact of Barriers to Food Trade in Sub- Saharan Africa.” World Bank (February 2014). Co-authored with Jakob Engel and Dr Marie-Agnes Jouanjean.

Book reviews
2013 Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya Why Growth Matters?  and Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen An Uncertain Glory in International Affairs, November 2013, Vol. 89, Issue 6. 

Film and journalism

I have a strong interest in film, and I am currently working on an animated short film called “Stray Desires”.

My journalistic writing can be found here: https://www.ft.com/search?q=akanksha+awal