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Mona Bhan

Mona Bhan

Contact Information:


327 Eggers Hall

Mona Bhan

Professor, Anthropology Department

Ford-Maxwell Professor of South Asian Studies

Director, Extraction, Environment and Citizenship Working Group

Senior Research Associate and Advisory Board Member, South Asia Center


ANT 300: Anthropological Theory

ANT 400: (Selected Topic) Gender and Conflict in South Asia 

ANT 600: (Selected Topic) Gender and Conflict in South Asia

Highest degree earned

Ph.D., Rutgers University, 2006 


Mona Bhan is a cultural anthropologist whose work explores the role of economic and infrastructural development in counterinsurgency operations and people's resistance movements to protracted war and conflict. Her areas of specialization include border wars and counterinsurgency; militarism and humanitarianism; race, gender and religion; environmentalism and climate change; occupation and human rights; space and place; water and infrastructure in Indian occupied Kashmir. 

Her book, "Counterinsurgency, Development, and the Politics of Identity: From Warfare to Welfare?" (Routledge, 2014), examines the relationship between everyday forms of militarization and social life in Kashmir, with a focus on how state-based economic development and environmental interventions normalize everyday forms of violence through registers of care, compassion and humanitarianism. 

In 2018, she co-authored "Climate without Nature: A Critical Anthropology of the Anthropocene" (Cambridge University Press), with an environmental archeologist to challenge the modernist binaries between nature and humanity, and offer a situated and place-based assessment on how human and nonhuman entanglements produce climatic assemblages across space and time.

With her colleagues from the Critical Kashmir Studies Collective that she helped co-found in 2013, she co-edited "Resisting Occupation in Kashmir" (University of Pennsylvania Press 2018). Envisioned as a critical feminist collaboration among scholars who do engaged and advocacy work in Kashmir, the book foregrounds voices of Kashmiri scholars and explores the social and legal logic of India’s occupation of Kashmir. 

Before coming to Syracuse, Mona taught at DePauw University for twelve years where she was the Otto L. Sonder Jr. Chair of Anthropology. In 2013 she received DePauw's United Methodist Exemplary Teaching Award. 

Mona is co-editor of the HIMALAYA, the flagship journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies and on the editorial board of AGITATE, published through the University of Minnesota Libraries. Her writings and interviews have appeared in several media and print outlets such as the BBC, Al Jazeera, TRT, Kindle, Open Democracy and Outlook.

Areas of Expertise

Border wars and counterinsurgency; militarism and humanitarianism; race, gender, and religion; environmentalism and climate change; occupation and human rights; space and place; water and infrastructure

Research Interests

Cultural anthropology; politics of development; infrastructure and materiality; wars, militarization and human rights; environmentalism; climate change; counterinsurgency; culture and power; local-global dynamics; gender; feminist theory; social theory; political and legal anthropology; transnationalism; ethnicity and nationalism; conflict and violence; research methodologies including feminist methodologies; South Asia

Research Grant Awards and Projects

Asher Research Fund for Student-Faculty Research. "Digitizing Family Archives, including prison diaries and Journals," DePauw University (2018)

Joan Westman Faculty Fellowship: Book project "Infrastructures of Occupation: Dams and the making of Borders in Kashmir, DePauw University 2017-2020

Great Lakes College Association (GLCA) Grant for my First Year Seminar on "Cultures And Climate" to develop interactive and community-based teaching modules, (Fall 2016)

Asher Research Fund for Research in India: “No River, No Country: Dams, Water Bombs, and Climate Change in Kashmir," DePauw University (2014)

Mellon Foundation New Directions Initiative Grant for the project “Intimate Histories, Public Archives: Re-reading Kashmir’s History and Politics” (2012)

Asher Research Fund for Research in India: “Sex, Race, Labor, and Affective Economies in Ladakh," DePauw University (2012)

Faculty Summer Stipend to conduct fieldwork in Kashmir on “Sex, Race, Labor, and Affective Economies in Ladakh," DePauw University (2012)

John and Janice Fisher Fund Timeout for my book manuscript "Counterinsurgency and Democracy in India," DePauw University (2011)

Fisher Time Out to work on my book manuscript "Counterinsurgency and Democracy in India," DePauw University (2010)

Mellon Environmental Education Grant to develop a new course entitled "Gender, Power, Environment," DePauw University (2010)

Faculty Summer Stipend, DePauw University (2007, 2009)

Faculty-Student Summer Stipend, DePauw University (2008)

Mellon Research Project entitled “European Enlightenment beyond the Occident,” Participant, Grant submitted by David Alvarez, traveled to India, Egypt, and Turkey to meet with academics and public intellectuals (2008)

Part-Time-Lecturer Professional Activities Fund Award, Faculty of Arts and Science, Rutgers University (2006)

Graduate School Travel Grant for American Anthropological Association Meetings in Washington, D.C. (2005) 

South Asian Studies Program Research and Travel Award, Rutgers University (2005)

Graduate Student Excellence Fellowship, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University (2004 - 05)

American Institute of Indian Studies Junior Dissertation Fellowship (2003-04)

Teaching Assistantship, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University (2001-04)

Graduate Student Excellence Fellowship, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University (2001-02)

Special Study Opportunity Award, Graduate School, Rutgers University (2001, 2002)

Bigel Graduate Study Fellowship, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University (2001,2002



Bhan, Mona. 2014/2015, Counterinsurgency, Democracy, and The Politics of Identity in India: From Warfare to Welfare?” London, NY: Routledge.

Bhan, Mona. 2018, Climate without Nature: A Critical Anthropology of the Anthropocene. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Co-authored with Andrew Bauer.

Bhan, Mona. 2018, Resisting Occupation in Kashmir. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.  Co-edited with Haley Duschinski, Ather Zia and Cynthia Mahmood.

Edited Journal

A special issue on "States of Occupation: Beyond Self Determination, Sovereignty, and Human Rights." The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law. 49(3). With Haley Duschinski.

Articles, Book Chapters, Reviews

Bhan, Mona. "Infrastructures of Occupation: Mobility, Immobility, and the Politics of Integration in Kashmir. In Freedom's Open Wounds (Ed) Ayesha Jalal. With Cambridge University Press.

Bhan, Mona. "Geographies of Occupation in South Asia." A joint statement by a group of South Asian Feminists, Ali, Nosheen et al., Feminist Studies, Forthcoming.

Bhan, Mona. 2019. "Growing up with a Pakistani Butta Grandfather." In A Desolation called Peace: An  Anthology of Writings on Kashmir, (Eds) Ather Zia and Javaid Iqbal Bhat,Harper Collins.

Bhan, Mona. 2018. "Jinn, Floods, and Resistant Ecological Imaginaries in Indian Occupied-Kashmir."Special issue on Gender and Kashmir in the Economic and Political Weekly, (Eds).  Nitasha Kaul and Ather Zia.

Bhan, Mona. 2018. "Rebels of the Street: Violence, Protest, and Freedom in Kashmir." In Resisting Occupation in Kashmir, (Eds) Haley Duschinski, Mona Bhan, Ather Zia and Cynthia Mahmood, University of Pennsylvania Press

Bhan, Mona. 2018."In Search of the Aryan Seed: Race, Religion, and Sexuality in Kashmir."In Resisting Occupation in Kashmir, (Eds) Haley Duschinski, Mona Bhan, Ather Zia and Cynthia Mahmood, University ofPennsylvania Press

Bhan, Mona. 2017. "Law Containing Violence: Critical Ethnographies of Occupation and Resistance." Introduction to Special Issue of Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law, (Eds)Haley Duschinski and Mona Bhan, 49(3): 253-267. 

Bhan, Mona. 2017. “Inside Kashmir: A Heroic Fight for Justice." SAPIENS, Wenner-Gren Foundation. With Parvaiz Bukhari. May 25th.

Bhan, Mona. 2017. “Fluid Landscapes, Sovereign Nature: Conservation and Counterinsurgency in Indian-controlled Kashmir.” Critique of Anthropology 37 (2): 67-92. With Nishita Trisal.

Bhan, Mona. 2015. “On the Limits of Reconciliation, In Conflicted Democracies and Gendered Violence: The Right to Heal,” (Eds). Chatterji, Angana.P, Shashi Buluswar, and Mallika Kaur, Berkeley Haas: California, pp 242-244. With Deepti Misri. 

Bhan, Mona. 2016.“Welfare and the Politics and Historicity of the Anthropocene.” Special Issue on Welfare in the South Atlantic Quarterly, 115 (1),61-87, (Ed). Anne-Maria Makhulu. With Andrew Bauer.

Bhan, Mona. 2014. "Aryan Valley” and the Politics of Race and Religion in Kashmir.” Fieldsights -Hotspots, Cultural Anthropology Online, March 24. 

Bhan, Mona. 2014. “Morality and Martyrdom: Dams, Dharma, and the Politics of Work in Indian Occupied Kashmir." Biographies (Eds.). Purnima Bose and Laura Lyons. 191-224.

Bhan, Mona. 2009. “Refiguring Rights, Redefining Culture: Hill-Councils in Kargil, Jammu & Kashmir." Sociological Bulletin 59 (1):71-93.

Bhan, Mona. 2013. “Refiguring Rights, Redefining Culture: Hill-Councils in Kargil, Jammu & Kashmir." Republished in Routeing Democracy in the Himalayas: Experiments and Experiences,(Eds). Vibha Arora and N. Jayaram, Routledge, India.

Bhan, Mona, 2009. “Disarming Violence: Democracy, Development, and the Military in an Indian Borderland.” Journal of Asian Studies, 68: 519-542.

Bhan, Mona. 2008. “Border Practices: Labor and Nationalism among Brogpas of Ladakh.”Contemporary South Asia, 16 (2):139-157. 

Bhan, Mona. 2008.Newsrooms in Conflict: Journalism and Democratization of Mexico. Sallie Hughes. University ofPittsburgh Press, 2006. The Latin Americanist, 52 (2): 100-103. (Review)

Bhan, Mona. 2008 Role and Image of Law in India: The Tribal Experience. Vasudha Dhagamvar. Sage Publications, 2006.PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 32 (Review)

Bhan, Mona. 2007. “Rethinking Ethics.” AnthroNews, December Issue. pp.48-49.

Bhan, Mona. 2006.“Military Masculinities” In Men of the Global South: A Reader. (Ed) Adam Jones. London: Zed Books.pp 269-271. 

Bhan, Mona. 2009. “Military Masculinities.” Republished in Recent Research on Ladakh, Papers from the 12thColloquium of the International Association for Ladakh Studies

Under Review

Bhan, Mona. “The States of Occupation: Anthropological Perspectives.” Special Issue accepted by the Critique of Anthropology. With Haley Duschinski, Tentative Publication Date of Publication, pending review, June 2020.

Books, Articles, and Legal Reports under review or preparation

Bhan, Mona,"Infrastructures of Occupation: Dams and the Making of Political Borders in Kashmir," BookManuscript in preparation.

Bhan, Mona, "Pye-Dogs, Counterinsurgency, and Azadi in Kashmir." Special issue for Critique of Anthropology. (Eds)

Bhan, Mona and Haley Duschinski, Tentative Date of Publication, June 2020, pending review, Article co-authored with Purnima Bose.

Bhan, Mona, "Relating Otherwise: A Sensorial History of Kashmir and Interreligious relations," Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly. With Deepti Misri, under review.

Bhan, Mona, (Legal Report) "The Illegality of Legality: The History of Supreme Court decisions in Kashmir,1948-2018." For Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, Kashmir, With  Haley Duschinski

Newspapers and Magazine Articles

Bhan, Mona. "Kashmiri Pandits must reimagine the idea of home," Al Jazeera, August 2019, with Deepti Misri.

Bhan, Mona. "The International Community must Intervene on Kashmir," Open Democracy, August 2019, with Haley Duschinski and Goldie Osuri.

Bhan, Mona. "A Pandit Across the Lidder," Outlook, June 2018.

Bhan, Mona. “A Pakistani Pandit?” Raiot, August 2016.

Bhan, Mona. “Divide and Rule.” Kindle Magazine, April 2016.

Bhan, Mona. “Fluid Landscapes: The Politics of Conservation and Dislocation” Greater Kashmir, with Nishita Trisal, June 28th, 2009

Bhan, Mona. “Growing chasm.” Indian Express, Delhi, with Debarati Sharma, 1997

Bhan, Mona. “Booked for pleasure for good.” Indian Express, Delhi, 1997

Bhan, Mona. “The Gender Bridge.” Indian Express, Delhi, with Mushtaq A. Ahangar, 1997

Bhan, Mona. “Where PG means pay and stay.” Hindustan Times, Delhi. 1996

Presentations and Events

Media Interviews, Articles, Pamphlets 

Interview, The Intercept, September 10th, 2019

Interview, TRT News, September 3rd, 2019

Interview, Indus Special with Ejaz Haider, August 16th, 2019

Interview, Al Jazeera, August 16th, 2019

Interview, Voice of America (urdu), August 16th, 2019

Interview, CGTN America, August 8th, 2019

Interview, Al Jazeera, August 7th, 2019

Interview, BBC, Kashmir, August 5th, 2019

Interview, The Scholar's Circle, India and Pakistan tensions over Kashmir, July 20th, 2019