CASI Non-Resident Visiting Scholar
Garware Post-Doctoral Fellow, UPIASI
Ranjini Basu is the Garware Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Advanced Study of India (UPIASI). Her research interests include agrarian studies, peasant movements, rural transformations, and food governance. As part of the fellowship, she will be studying contemporary agrarian politics and ecological concerns in rural North India. The focus of the project is on rice production in Punjab, its associated ecological challenges, and their various and changing articulations by peasant organizations. The crucial role played by agrarian mobilizations for rural change and transformation is at the foundation of this research.
Ranjini has an interdisciplinary training in the social sciences, and completed her Ph.D. from the School of Development Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Her doctoral thesis was an archival and empirical study of the history, implementation, and outcomes of land reforms in West Bengal. It dealt with the specific role of peasant mass organizations and local governance bodies in setting the agenda for land reforms and its implementation, and the contemporary challenges of land-holdings, involving a case study of three villages from different agro-climatic zones of the State.
Over the past decade, Ranjini has been a part of various village study projects across India, gaining experience in different roles in designing, conducting, and analysing household-surveys on diverse thematic areas. This exposure has grounded the importance and her interest in pursuing empirical studies of the Indian countryside. She has co-edited a book, Socio-Economic Surveys of Three Villages in Tripura: A Study of Agrarian Relations (Tulika Books, 2020), on findings from socio-economic surveys carried out in three villages of Tripura, exploring the varied types of agrarian relations within the State. More recently, her research has involved understanding rural-to-rural migrations and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on migrant agricultural workers.
Her work as an agricultural policy researcher led her to interact with peasant organizations and experts across South and South-East Asia, and be part of international processes on food-governance, specifically with policy-negotiations at the United Nations Committee for World Food Security (CFS).
Ranjini's writings have appeared as peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, blogs, policy briefs, and in media outlets. She has received national and international fellowship grants to pursue her research.