Academic Council

Academic Council

Ruma Banerjee

Vincent Massey Collegiate Professor and Associate Chair,
Biological Chemistry, Medical School,
University of Michigan
Ph.D. Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute

Dr.Banerjee is Professor of, and the Associate Chair for, Biological Chemistry at the University of Michigan (UM). She represents the University on Ashoka’s Academic Council, as a part of the collaboration between the two institutions.

Dr. Banerjee has been at the University of Michigan since 2001. Her interests are in the chemical biology of mammalian sulfur metabolism, structural enzymology of human B12 trafficking proteins and enzymes involved in H2S biogenesis and catabolism, redox signaling in immune and neuroimmune function.

Prior to coming to Michigan, Dr. Banerjee was at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she was the Will Cather Professor of Biochemistry in the Institute of Agriculture & Natural Resources. While at the UNL she won a $10 million award from the National Institutes of Health to establish and direct the Nebraska Center for Redox Biology.

Dr.Banerjee is also the recipient of the Established Investigator Award, given by the American Heart Association (2000) and of the prestigious Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry, given by the American Chemical Society (2001). She has been published widely across numerous publications in the biological and chemical sciences.

She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Botany from Delhi Univerity before she went to the Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, one of the oldest technological research institutions in the United States, to earn her Ph.D. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan before joining the faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Kaushik Basu

Senior Vice President & Chief Economist,
World Bank; Professor, Cornell University
Ph.D. London School of Economics

Kaushik Basu is an Indian economist who is currently Chief Economist of the World Bank. Previously, he was the C. Marks Professor of International Studies, Professor of Economics and, prior to that, the Chairman of the Department of Economics and Director, Center for Analytic Economics at Cornell University. He has also served as the Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India.

Earlier he was Professor of Economics at the Delhi School of Economics, where he founded the Centre for Development Economics in Delhi and was its first Executive Director. He is also a founding member of the Madras School of Economics.

He is currently President of the Human Development and Capabilities Association, which was founded by Amartya Sen. He has held advisory posts with the ILO, the World Bank, the Reserve Bank of India and was, for several years, member of the steering committee of the Expert Group of Development Issues set up by the Swedish Government. He is currently also a member of the Board of Directors of the Exim Bank of India.

He is Editor of Social Choice and Welfare, and served or serves on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of Development Economics, World Bank Economic Review and the Japanese Economic Review.

A Fellow of the Econometric Society, Kaushik Basu is widely published in areas of Development Economics, Industrial Organization, Game Theory and Welfare Economics. He has also contributed popular articles to magazines and newspapers, such as The New York Times, Scientific American, India Today and Business Standard. He also wrote a regular column for BBC News Online. He has appeared on various television programmes including CNN (USA), NDTV and CNBC (India) and BBC.

In May 2008 he was awarded one of India’s highest civilian awards, the Padma Bhushan, by the President of India.

Andre Beteille

Visiting Professor, Ashoka University;
Professor Emeritus, Delhi School of Economics,
University of Delhi
Ph.D. University of Delhi

Andre Beteille is one of India’s leading sociologists and writers. He is particularly well known for his studies of the caste system in South India. He is a Professor of Sociology at the Delhi School of Economics at the University of Delhi where he is Professor Emeritus of Sociology.

He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in anthropology from the University of Calcutta. Thereafter he received his doctorate from the University of Delhi. After a brief stint at the Indian Statistical Institute as a research fellow, he joined the faculty of sociology at the DSE.

In his long and distinguished career, he has in the past taught at Oxford University, Cambridge University, the University of Chicago, and the London School of Economics. He is currently Chairman of the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta and of the Indian Council of Social Science Research.

In 2005, Professor Béteille received the Padma Bhushan as a mark of recognition for his work in the field of Sociology. The same year he was appointed a member of the Prime Minister’s National Knowledge Commission. In 2006, following a proposal for increasing caste-based reservations, Andre Beteille quit the Commission in protest. In 2006, he was made National Professor.

Supriya Chaudhuri

Professor Emeritus, Department of English, Jadavpur University
D.Phil. Oxford University

Supriya Chaudhuri is Professor Emeritus, Department of English, Jadavpur University, and was formerly Head of the Department and Coordinator of its Centre of Advanced Study. Her areas of academic specialization include Renaissance studies, critical theory, translation, cinema, sport and cultural history.

After having received her undergraduate degree in English Literature at the Presidency College, University of Calcutta, she did her graduate studies at the University of Oxford from 1975-78, where she took a First in English. She then served as Assistant Professor in English at Presidency College for a few years, after which she returned to Oxford on an Inlaks scholarship for doctoral studies in Renaissance Literature. She was awarded the D.Phil. in 1981.

She has held visiting positions at the universities of Cambridge and Paris, and lectured in academic institutions in India and abroad. She has also advised on matters of national education policy in committees set up by the University Grants Commission and the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Ramachandra Guha

Author & Historian
Ph.D. IIM Calcutta

Ramachandra Guha is an Indian writer whose research interests have included environmental, social, political and cricket history. He is also a columnist for the newspapers The Telegraph, Khaleej Times, and The Hindustan Times. He is a fellow of Indian Institute of Management Calcutta.

Born in Dehradun in 1958, Guha studied at The Doon School and St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. He graduated in Economics with a BA in 1977 and then an MA from the Delhi School of Economics, and did a Ph.D. in Sociology at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta.

Between 1985 and 2000, he taught at various universities in India, Europe and North America, including the University of California, Berkeley, Yale University, Stanford University and Oslo University, and later at the Indian Institute of Science. During this period, he was also a fellow of Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in Germany.

He served as Sundaraja Visiting Professor in the Humanities at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in 2003. He is the managing trustee of the New India Foundation, a nonprofit body that funds research on modern Indian history.

He is the author of India after Gandhi, published by Macmillan and Ecco in 2007, and the recent Patriots and Partisans, published by Penguin in 2012. In May 2008, the US magazine Foreign Policy had named him as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world in May 2008. He is also a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award, which he was awarded in 2009.

Christophe Jaffrelot

Visiting Professor, Ashoka University; Research Director, CNRS, Sciences Po; Visiting Professor, King's India Institute (London); Global Scholar, Princeton University
Ph.D. Sciences Po

Christophe Jaffrelot is Research Director at the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) and teaches South Asian politics and history at Sciences Po (Paris). He was Director of CERI (Centre d’Etudeset de Recherches Internationales) at Sciences Po, between 2000 and 2008. His research interests include: theories of nationalism and democracy; mobilization of the lower castes and untouchables in India; the Hindu nationalist movement; ethnic conflicts in Pakistan.

Christophe holds degrees from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (IEP), the University of Paris I-Sorbonne, the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO) and a Ph.D. in political science. He joined the CNRS in 1991 and was awarded the CNRS Bronze Medal in 1993. He became a senior research Fellow in 2002. He has served as director of CERI of 2000-2008.Directs four book series published by Fayard, Autrement, Hurst and Palgrave; former editor-in-chief (1998-2003) and current director of Critique Internationale. He is the member of the steering committee of Aspen France and of the scientific councils of SüdasienInstitut, Heidelberg and IUED, Geneva. He chairs the Asia Group at the DGCID of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He also teaches Indian Politics and Sociology at the King’s University India Institute and is a regular Visitor at the universities of Yale, Princeton, SAIS and Columbia University. He has to his credit publications such as, India’s Silent Revolution:The Rise of the Lower Castes in North India, London, Hurst, 2003, The Hindu nationalist movement and Indian politics, 1925 to the 1990s, London, Hurst 1999. His recent publications include Armed Militias of South Asia, co-edited with L. Gayer, London, Hurst, 2010, India since 1950, Yatra Books/Cambridge University Press, 2011, and the Muslims in Indian Cities, Hurst/Harper Collins, which was released in 2012.

Sampath Kannan

Henry Salvatori Professor and Chair, Department of Computer and Information Science, University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley

Dr.Kannan is a Professor of and Chair for Computer and Information Science at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. He represents the School on Ashoka University’s Academic Council, as part of the collaboration between the two institutions.

Dr. Kannan joined Penn Engineering after a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Princeton and four years on the faculty at the University of Arizona.

He is the author of over 150 journal and conference papers, several of which have won best paper awards or been invited to special journal issues. His research interests are broadly in algorithms and complexity. He is also interested in the applications of these theoretical fields to program reliability, computational biology, computer systems and computational game theory.

At Penn Dr.Kannan is a member of the Graduate Group in Genomics and Computational Biology at the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science and is also active with the Penn Center for Bioinformatics. He plays a prominent mentorship role and has previously been awarded for Outstanding Faculty Advising.

Dr.Kannan received his Bachelor’s Degree at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and his Master’s at Princeton University before earning his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley in 1989.

Devesh Kapur

Visiting Professor, Ashoka University; Director, Center for the Advanced Study of India & Professor, University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D. Princeton University

Devesh Kapur was appointed Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India in 2006. He is Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, and holds the position of Madan Lal Sobti Professor for the Study of Contemporary India. Prior to arriving at Penn, Professor Kapur was Associate Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin, and, before that, the Frederick Danziger Associate Professor of Government at Harvard.

His research focuses on human capital, national and international public institutions, and the ways in which local-global linkages, especially international migration and international institutions, affect political and economic change in developing countries, especially India. His new book, Diaspora, Democracy and Development: The Impact of International Migration from India, was published by Princeton University Press in August 2010.

He is the recipient of the Joseph R. Levenson Teaching Prize awarded to the best junior faculty at Harvard in 2005.

Professor Kapur holds a B. Tech in Chemical Engineering from the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University; an MS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota; and a Ph. D. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton.

Sunil Khilnani

Professor & Director, King's India Institute, King’s College London
Ph.D. University of Cambridge

Sunil Khilnani joined the King’s India Institute as its Director and Professor of Politics in June 2011. His research interests lie at the intersection of various fields: intellectual history and the study of political thought, the history of modern India, democratic theory in relation to its recent non-western experiences, the politics of contemporary India, and strategic thought in the definition of India’s place in the world.

He was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he took a First in Social and Political Sciences. He later gained his Ph.D. in Social and Political Sciences at King’s College, Cambridge.

Prior to becoming Director of the King’s India Institute, he was the Starr Foundation professor at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, from 2001 to 2011, in which time he also served as Director of South Asia Studies at SAIS, a programme he had established in 2002.

Formerly Professor of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London, he has been a visiting professor at Seikei University, Tokyo, and was elected a Research Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge. He has also held a Leverhulme Fellowship, and has been a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC, a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg) in Berlin, and a Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin.

He has served as a member of several editorial boards, including Economy and Society, Critique Internationale, and the Political Quarterly, and is a member of the Scientific Council of the Institute for Advanced Study in Nantes, the Instituto Oriente in Lisbon, and a Governor of the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Trust.

He is the author of The Idea of India, published by Macmillan in 1999, and is a recipient of the 2005 Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, awarded by the Indian government.

A. K. Shiva Kumar

Visiting Professor, Ashoka University
Member, National Advisory Council; Advisor, UNICEF; Visiting Professor, Harvard & ISB Ph.D. Harvard University

A. K. Shiva Kumar is a development economist and professor. In addition to serving as an advisor to UNICEF – India, he is a member of India’s National Advisory Council. The council was set up in June 2004 to oversee the implementation of India’s National Common Minimum Programme.

Dr Kumar earned his postgraduate diploma in management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and his M A in economics from Bangalore University. He also holds a Master’s degree in public administration and a Ph.D in political economy and government from Harvard University.

Shiva Kumar teaches economics and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and is a visiting professor at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. He has focused his research on poverty and human development, social sector analysis, and the impact of development policies on children and women.

Shiva Kumar has been a regular contributor to UNDP’s Annual Human Development Reports. He has also been associated with the preparation of national human development reports in a number of countries including Bhutan, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar and Serbia. In 2003, Kumar co-edited the book Readings in Human Development. His other publications include the Public Report on Basic Education (PROBE) (Oxford University Press, 1999) and a co-authored report entitled, Women in India: How free? How Equal?, for the UN System in India.

Sharad Malik

Chair, Department of Electrical Engineering, Princeton University; Associate Director, FCRP Center for Future Architectures Research
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley

Sharad Malik is George Van Ness Professor of Electrical Engineering, Princeton University. He is also the chair of the department of Electrical Engineering at Princeton, in addition to which he is Associate Director, FCRP Center for Future Architectures Research (C-FAR). His research interests lie in design automation for digital systems, focusing on design methodology, synthesis and verification.

He obtained his B Tech in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, in 1985, after which he did his Graduate Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, completing his Ph.D. in 1990.

The Program co-Chair at the Design Automation Conference (DAC) in 2000 and 2001, Sharad Malik serves as Member of the Technical Advisory Board of Jasper Design Automation, Inc. And QUALCOMM Flarion Technologies. He is on the editorial boards of the Journal of VLSI Signal Processing, Design Automation for Embedded Systems and IEEE Design and Test.

He is co-author of Performance Analysis of Real-Time Embedded Software (with Yau-Tsun Steven Li) published by Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999. He also has one edited volume, several book chapters and over a hundred papers in the area of design automation to his credit.

Pratap Bhanu Mehta

President & Chief Executive, Centre for Policy Research
Ph.D. Princeton University

Pratap Bhanu Mehta is President and Chief Executive, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. He was previously Visiting Professor of Government at Harvard University; Associate Professor of Government and Social Studies at Harvard. He has been Visiting Professor at New York University and University of Pennsylvania Law Schools, also holding visiting appointments at Brown University. His areas of research include political theory, constitutional law, governance, political economy and international affairs, with special focus on society and politics in India.

He holds a B.A. First Class in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from St. John’s College, Oxford University, and a Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University. He is a recipient of the Malcolm S. Adisheshiah Award for distinguished contribution to the Social Sciences, 2010.

Pratap Bhanu Mehta has done extensive Public Policy work. He is member of the National Security Advisory Board, Government of India. He has previously been Member-Convenor of the Prime Minister of India’s Knowledge Commission; Member of the Supreme-Court-appointed committee on Elections in Indian Universities, and has authored numerous papers and reports for institutions including and not limited to the World Bank, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and Department for International Development (DFID).

He has been involved with several institutions of Higher Education. He is on the Board of Governors of the International Development Research Council (IDRC), and several academic institutions including the National Institute of Finance and Public Policy. He is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Governance Council.

His publications span areas of political theory, constitutional law and political economy. He is the author of The Burden of Democracy, published by Penguin, 2003.

Pratap Bhanu Mehta is, in addition, a prolific columnist. Apart from being editorial consultant to The Indian Express, his columns have also appeared in a number of national and international dailies including The Financial Times, Telegraph, International Herald Tribune, The Hindu, Outlook, etc. He also serves on the Editorial Board of numerous journals including the American Political Science Review, Journal of Democracy, and India and Global Affairs.

Rudrangshu Mukherjee

Professor of History, Ashoka University
D.Phil. Oxford University

Rudrangshu Mukherjee is Professor of History at Ashoka University. He is a renowned historian and author, and was most recently Editor of the Editorial Pages, at The Telegraph, Kolkata.

Prof. Mukherjee has taught history at the University of Calcutta and held visiting appointments at Princeton University, the University of Manchester and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prof. Mukherjee studied at Calcutta Boys’ School, Presidency College, Kolkata, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and St. Edmund Hall, Oxford. He was awarded a D.Phil in Modern History by the University of Oxford in 1981.

Prof Mukherjee is internationally acclaimed as a historian of the revolt of 1857 in India. His first book Awadh in Revolt, 1857-58: A Study of Popular Resistance has become a standard reference on the subject. He has looked at the 1857 rebellion in four other books: Spectre of Violence: The 1857 Kanpur Massacres, Mangal Pandey: Brave Martyr or Accidental Hero?, Dateline 1857: Revolt against the Raj and The Year of Blood: Essays on 1857.

He has also authored and edited several books on other themes, including The Penguin Gandhi Reader, Trade and Politics and the Indian Ocean World: Essays in Honour of Ashin Das Gupta, Remembered Childhood: Essays in Honour of Andre Beteille, New Delhi: The Making of a Capital and Great Speeches of Modern India. His forthcoming book is Nehru & Bose: Parallel Lives.

Kalyanakrishnan (Shivi) Sivaramakrishnan

Dinakar Singh Professor of India and South Asian Studies
Professor of Anthropology and Forestry & Environmental Studies; Co-Director, Program in Agrarian Studies, Yale University Ph.D. Yale University

Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan is Co-Director, Program in Agrarian Studies, Chair of the South Asian Studies Council in the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, and co-coordinator of the combined Ph.D. Program in Anthropology and Forestry & Environmental Studies at Yale University. His research interests span environmental history, political anthropology, cultural geography, development studies, and science studies, with a regional focus on South Asia.

Sivaramakrishnan did both his graduate studies and Ph.D. in anthropology at Yale, completing his Ph.D. in 1996. His research primarily deals with the colonial and contemporary history, and anthropology of forests and wildlife conservation in eastern India. He has authored several books and edited volumes on the same.

He is currently working on several projects including essays on India’s terrestrial environmental history, the comparative study of postcolonial nature conservation in the tropical world, urban ecology in metropolitan India, the anthropology of law and justice in India, and new research on law, civil society, and environmental sustainability in India, with case studies from the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

Sivaramakrishnan currently serves on the Editorial Boards of American Ethnologist, Conservation & Society and is a member of the Editorial Collective of the Journal of Peasant Studies. He edits the Culture, Place, and Nature Series at the University of Washington Press, which has published fifteen inter-disciplinary books, on environmental issues in different parts of the world, since 2005. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), from 2009 – 2013, and was the elected President of the AAS in 2010-11.

Kenwyn K. Smith

Visiting Professor, Ashoka University,Professor, University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D. Yale University

Dr Kenwyn K Smith is a Professor of Organizational Behavior and the Director of Penn’s Master’s Programme in Nonprofit/NGO Leadership. Dr Smith teaches leadership, group and intergroup dynamics, organizational politics, change management in three of Penn’s schools: the School of Social Policy & Practice, the Wharton School and the Fels Institute of Government (Arts and Sciences). Dr Smith is an international scholar in the fields of group and intergroup dynamics, organizational change and leadership. His research experience ranges from prisons to schools, from businesses to health care institutions, from state enterprises to social entrepreneurial activities, from oppressed black townships in South Africa to agencies creating sustainable livelihoods in rural India, from pharmaceuticals in Belgium to financial services in urban America, from the World Bank to a community in Philadelphia wrestling with the anguish of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Dr Smith did his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior in 1974 and MA in Organizational Behavior in 1973 from Yale University. He has founded a number of volunteer-based, nonprofit organizations and is about to launch several research initiatives that will be at the heart of Penn’s Center on Nonprofit Leadership. He has also received numerous Excellences in Teaching Awards and also highest ranked teacher award from the University of Pennsylvania.

He has also worked in the following universities in various capacities. Oxford University, University of Maryland, University of Melbourne, Yale University, University of New Haven, University of Melbourne.

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