Nayanika's current research project is a comparative analysis of national identity projects and the forms of conspiratorial theorizing against the state they allow for. Specifically, she plans to undertake ethnographic research on India’s ambitious new biometric-ID project and compare it with the now-scrapped UK Identity Cards Act 2006. This research will ask why and how has the introduction of new IDs premised on new technologies allowed for multifarious critiques of democracy and the state; what are the specific contours of the conspiracy theories new IDs give rise to; and under what conditions are states able to fend off clamors of conspiracy by the state against its own citizens (India) and how and when do they succumb to it (UK)?
Nayanika Mathur is a postdoctoral research fellow on the Leverhulme-funded project Conspiracy and Democracy: History, Political Theory and Internet Research.
She completed her PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge in 2010. Before joining CRASSH she lectured in Social Anthropology at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh. Her doctoral research, based on eighteen months of fieldwork in India, traces the process whereby India’s largest anti-poverty legislation was implemented through a portrayal of the everyday life of the development bureaucracy of a Himalayan state. Her research interests are centered upon the study of the state, law, bureaucracy, human-animal conflict, materiality, new technologies, and government with an area interest in India and the Himalaya.
Conspiracy and Democracy, Researcher
January 2013 - December 2017