I am an Associate Professor of Politics & Global Studies at the University of Virginia, where I teach classes on global development, citizen-state relations, local politics, and mixed-methods research design. Prior to joining UVA, I was an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, and an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Boston College. I received a Ph.D. in Political Science and Masters in International Development Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.A. in Sociology & Anthropology from Swarthmore College.
My interests lie in the political economy of development, with a focus on the politics of inequality, social welfare provision, and accountability in local governance. My research examines citizen claim-making and bureaucratic responsiveness in the delivery of public goods and services in India, with comparative interests in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. My first book, Claiming the State: Active Citizenship & Social Welfare in India (Cambridge University Press, 2018), was awarded the 2018 Joseph W. Elder Prize for best first book in the Indian Social Sciences by the American Institute for Indian Studies. My work appears in the journals Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Economic & Political Weekly, Perspectives on Politics, Science, World Development, and World Politics (for which I was awarded the 2019 Luebbert Prize for best paper in comparative politics). My research has been supported by the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), the World Bank Sexual Violence Research Initiative, the MIT GOV/LAB, the American Institute for Indian Studies, the National Science Foundation, the Boren Fellowship, and the Fulbright Program.
I'm currently engaged in research on the comparative politics of claim-making in the global south; on social accountability and bureaucratic responsiveness; on gender, policing, and bureaucratic reform; and on local responses to Covid-19 in India. I am the co-convener of two research collaboratives at the University of Virginia:
- Digital Democracy: The Uses and Misuses of Technology in Unequal Societies (a Global Program of Distinction supported by the Center for Global Inquiry and Innovation)
- Local Equity and Democracy: The Challenges of Inequality at the Grassroots (a Working Group supported by the UVA Democracy Initiative)