Farhana Ibrahim | Humanities & Social Sciences

Farhana Ibrahim

Farhana Ibrahim
CV Summary: 
Farhana Ibrahim is a social anthropologist whose research interests include the study of borders, policing, migration and ethnographic perspectives on the state. Her first book, 'Settlers, Saints, and Sovereigns: An Ethnography of State Formation in Western India' (Routledge 2009) is based on ethnographic research among Muslim pastoral communities in Gujarat along the Kutch - Sindh border. Her second book, From Family to Police Force: Security and Belonging on a South Asian Border (Cornell University Press, 2021) is an ethnography of policing, civil-military relations, kinship and surveillance on a south Asian borderland. She has also edited (with Tanuja Kothiyal) South Asian Borderlands: Mobility, History, Affect (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and has edited Studies in Religion and the Everyday, published by Oxford University Press, 2024.

Contact Information

fibrahim [at] hss.iitd.ac.in
Office: MS 608-C
5th floor, MS Building

Research Areas

Ethnographies of the state and violence
Anthropology of Security, policing
Civil-military relations
Ethnography of war
Migration and Displacement
Ethnography of Disasters
Borders and Nation
History and Anthropology
Ethnography of the neighbourhood

PhD theses supervised (year degree awarded):

Bharat Hun (2024) Desert Sovereignties: An Ethnography of Kingship and Democracy in the Thar

Fariya Yesmin (2023) Deconstructing Documentary Citizenship: An Ethnography of Foreigners’ Tribunals in Assam

Benu Verma (2022) Rethinking the Politics of Neoliberal Religiosity: An Ethnography of Middle-Class Guru Faith in Mata Amritanandmayi Devi.

Aatina Nasir Malik (2021): Beyond Event and Aftermath: An Ethnographic Account of Everyday Life in a Kashmiri Neighbourhood.

Rupali Bansode (2020): Re-Casting the Social in the Aftermath of Caste-based Sexual Violence: A Study of Gender and Caste Relations in Rural Maharashtra.

Usha Rao (2019): An Ooru and a Metro: An Ethnography of a Neighbourhood and Urban Infrastructure in Bangalore

Academic Background

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Ph.D. Socio-Cultural Anthropology: 2006
Dissertation Title: Mobility, Territory, and Memory in Kachchh: The Making of a Region in Western India

University of Delhi, India
M.Phil. Sociology: 1999
Thesis Title: A Comparative Study of an Islamic Ritual: Liturgy and Everyday Life in the Karbala Paradigm

M.A. Sociology: 1997

B.A. (Honours) History: 1995

Employment History

Assistant Professor
Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences
Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
January 2009- June 2014

Assistant Professor
Dept. of Sociology
National University of Singapore
January 2008-January 2009

Assistant Professor
Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)
Mumbai (India)
June 2006-January 2008



(2024) ed. Studies in Religion and the Everyday. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

(2021) ed. with Tanuja Kothiyal: South Asian Borderlands: Mobility, History, Affect. New Delhi and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 9781108951500

(2021) From Family to Police Force: Security and Belonging on a South Asian Border. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press

2009 Settlers, Saints and Sovereigns: An Ethnography of State Formation in Western India New Delhi and London: Routledge.

Journal articles:

2022. 'Citizenship and Social Belonging across the Thar: Gender, Family and Caste in the Context of the 1971 War' Asian Affairs, DOI: 10.1080/03068374.2022.2078082

2020. 'Vulnerable Sovereignty' symposium in Current Anthropology, vol.61 (6). DOI: 10.1086/712003

2020 “We got citizenship but nothing else”: Love, (be)longing, and betrayal in the context
of India’s citizenship regime, in HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, vol. 10 (3). https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/711893

2019 Policing in Practice: Security, Surveillance, and Everyday Peacekeeping on a South Asian Border, in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, vol. 39 (3) Duke University Press, pp. 425-438. https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-7885378

2018. Cross-border intimacies: marriage, migration and citizenship in western India, Modern Asian Studies, vol. 52(5), 2018: pp 1664-1691, Cambridge University Press http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0026749X16000810, published online 21 June 2018.

2018. Wedding Videos and the City: Neighbourhood, Affect, and Community in the Aftermaths of the Gujarat Earthquake, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, Vol. 41 (1), Taylor and Francis. Published online, 2 November 2017: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00856401.2018.1388948

2017. (with Tanuja Kothiyal) Beyond Juridictional and Territorial Confines, in Economic and Political Weekly Special issue, 'Exploring Borderlands in South Asia', eds. Farhana Ibrahim and Tanuja Kothiyal, Vol. 52 (15): 32 - 36.

2017. Bureaucracy and Border Control: Crime, police reform, and ‘national security’ in Kutch, 1948-1952, in Economic and Political Weekly Special issue, 'Exploring Borderlands in South Asia', eds. Farhana Ibrahim and Tanuja Kothiyal, Vol. 52 (15): 79 - 86.

2016. The ethnographer and the ‘field’ – anthropology as personal engagement, Religion and Society: Advances in Research, 7(2016) © Berghahn Books doi:10.3167/arrs.2016.070102.

2014. Intimate Gifts and ‘Bad’ Deaths: Reflections on Organ Transplants, State and Society in Gujarat, Contributions to Indian Sociology, Vol. 48(2): 165 - 190.

2012 The Region and its Margins: Re-appropriations of the Border from MahaGujarat to Swarnim Gujarat in Economic and Political Weekly Vol. XLVII (32): 66-72.

2011 Re-Making a Region: Ritual Inversions & Border Transgressions in Kutch in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies Vol. XXXIV (3): 439-459.

2008 Islamic ‘reform’, the nation-state and the liberal subject: The cultural politics of identity in Kachchh, Gujarat in Contributions to Indian Sociology Vol.42 (2): 191-217.

2007 Capitalism, Multiculturalism and Tolerance: A perspective on ‘Vibrant Gujarat in Economic and Political Weekly Vol. 42(34): 3446-9

2006 Sindh and Kutch, Cloth and Verse in Himal Southasian Vol. 19 (3): 59-61.

2005 Defining a Border: Harijan Migrants and the State in Kachchh in Economic and Political Weekly Vol. 40 (16): 1623-1630.

2004 No place like home: history, politics and mobility among a pastoral nomadic community in Western India in Nomadic Peoples Vol. 8 (2): 168-90.

Chapters in edited volumes:

Bureaucracy and Border Control: Ethnographic Perspectives on Crime, police reform, and ‘national security’ in Kutch, 1948-1952. in South Asian Borderlands: Mobility, History, Affect eds. Farhana Ibrahim and Tanuja Kothiyal. Cambridge and New Delhi: Cambridge University Press.

2020. 'Beyond state and nation: anthropology of Muslims in South Asia' in Exploring Sociabilities of Contemporary India edited by Sujata Patel. New Delhi: Orient Blackswan. https://orientblackswan.com/details?id=9789352878475

2015 (with Edward Simpson) ‘Adab’ in Dharampal-Frick, Gita, Rachel Dwyer, Monika Kirloskar and Jahnavi Phalke eds. Key concepts in modern Indian studies. New Delhi and New York: Oxford University Press, 1-2.

2012 Representing the ‘Minority’ in Rowena Robinson (ed.) Minority Studies (Oxford India Series on Contemporary Society, Series ed. Sujata Patel), New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 118-137.

2011 Border Transgressions and the Frontiers of Faith in Kachchh, Gujarat in Vinod K. Jairath (ed.), Frontiers of Embedded Muslim Communities in India, New Delhi: Routledge, 29-48.

2011 Mobility, Territory and Authenticity: Sindhi Hindus in Kachchh, Gujarat in Michel Boivin and Matthew A. Cook (eds.) Interpreting the Sindhi World: Essays on Culture, History and Language. Karachi: Oxford University Press, 28-57.

2008. Mohmedhusain: Words, tabloids and the compulsions of the Ahl-e-Hadis in Mukulika Banerjee (ed.) Muslim Portraits: Everyday Lives in India. New Delhi: Yoda press (co-authored with Edward Simpson).

2007. Narrating the Frontier: Perspectives from Kachchh in Sarai Reader 07: Frontiers, Delhi: CSDS, 2 - 11.

Book Reviews:

2015. David Gellner (ed.) (Borderland Lives in Northern South Asia), Contributions to Indian Sociology Vol. 49 (3): 429 – 432.

2014. Edward Simpson (The Political Biography of an Earthquake: Aftermath and Amnesia in Gujarat), The Indian Express September 22, 2014.

2014. Nikita Sud (Liberalization, Hindu Nationalism and the State), Contributions to Indian Sociology Vol. 48 (3): 429 – 431.

2012. Complex History of Change (Douglas Haynes, Small Town Capitalism in Western India), The Book Review Vol. XXXVI (11): 13-14.

2012. Farina Mir (The Social Space of Language: Vernacular Culture in British Colonial Punjab), Interventions Vol. 14 (3): 470-72.

2011. Anand Pandian (Crooked Stalks: Cultivating Virtue in South India), Contributions to Indian Sociology Vol. 45 (3): 460-462.

2010. Lesson from the Past (Samira Sheikh, Forging a Region), Economic and Political Weekly Vol. XLV (38): 34-35.

Teaching Areas

Sociology of India; Sociology and Anthropology of Religion; The city; ethnographic research methods; methods in historical anthropology; Ethnography of the State; Nationalism; Anthropology of Policing