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Malini Ranganathan, American University

American University
Assistant Professor, School of International Service

Dr. Ranganathan is a critical geographer with a special interest in postcolonial cities. Her scholarship is concerned broadly with the political economy of the urban environment and sits at the intersection of human and urban geography, cultural anthropology, and critical development studies. Most of her research to date has focused on water and land governance in Bangalore/Bengaluru in India. Through ethnographic and archival research here, she argues that new water pricing policy is central to struggles over the right to tenure security given widespread urban informality. A related project delves into the political economy of wetland redevelopment, showing how Bangalore’s wetlands have become sites for land grabbing, accumulation, and state-corporate corruption. The resulting heightened flood risk has fueled demands for a more democratic city. Finally, she brings insights from postcolonial cities to bear on urban space and inequality in the US. To that end, she has just launched a newly funded project, “Tackling Urban Vulnerability: Lessons for Building Community Resilience and Climate Justice in Washington, DC”, which aims to document and address the racial inequities and ecological risks faced by communities near the Anacostia.

Her research is published in the International Journal of Urban and Regional ResearchUrban GeographyAntipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, and Water Alternatives among other journals, as well as several edited books on the South Asian city. Previously, Dr Ranganathan was a post-doctoral fellow based out of the Department of Geography at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has also worked at TERI, New Delhi; ENDA-Tiers Monde, Dakar; and the Asian Development Bank, Manila. At SIS, Dr Ranganathan teaches SISU 250 (Environmental Sustainability and Global Health), SISU 349 (Global Cities, Justice, and the Environment), and SIS 620 (Urban Political Ecology).