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Louise Tillin

Dr Louise Tillin

Senior Lecturer in Politics and Deputy Director, King's India Institute


Room: 1 SEB C, South East Block, top floor, Strand campus

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7053 

Office Hours in 2015-16: Wednesdays 10:30am to 12:30pm

Louise Tillin is a political scientist who works on electoral politics, federalism and the politics of development in contemporary India. She is the programme director of the MA and MRes Contemporary India at King’s India Institute. Louise joined King’s and the newly established India Institute in 2011. She was earlier the Joyce Lambert Research Fellow in Politics at Newnham College, University of Cambridge, and has taught at LSE, SOAS, Sussex and the Open University. She holds a DPhil from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, was formerly a Thouron scholar in South Asian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and has an undergraduate degree from the University of Cambridge.

Her research interests focus on:

  • The comparison of politics across India’s states
  • Structures and patterns in Indian federalism including the accommodation of political regionalism and the emergence of regional parties
  • The interface between electoral politics, institutions and public policy in India, in particular social policy
  • Comparative federalism and territorial politics

Her most recent book Politics of Welfare: Comparisons across Indian States (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015; co-edited with Rajeshwari Deshpande and KK Kailash) examines how political environments across India’s states shape the formulation and enactment of social sector programmes on the ground. The volume presents research conducted in collaboration with Lokniti and the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) under the auspices of a three year British Academy International Partnership on Comparative State Politics and Public Policy in India (2011-14).

Louise is also author of Remapping India: New States and their Political Origins (London, Hurst & Co; New Delhi and New York, Oxford University Press; Oxford Scholarship Online, 2013). This book explains the creation of new states within India’s federal system, focusing specifically on Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand. It presents a framework for understanding the causes and consequences of the territorial reorganisation of India’s federal system.

She is currently Principal Investigator of two research projects. The first, entitled Explaining Electoral Change in Urban and Rural India, is funded by the India-Europe research networking programme of the ESRC, ICSSR and ANR. This project brings together a network of scholars at King’s, LSE, University of London, Sciences-Po, JNU, BR Ambedkar University (Lucknow) and the NGO Janaagraha to study changing patterns of electoral politics in contemporary India. The second partnership unites the King’s India Institute, Center for South Asian Studies, UC Berkeley and Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research (IGIDR) around the theme of the political economy of contemporary India. This is a trilateral research partnership funded by the UK-India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI; 2013-15). In addition, Louise is a co-investigator on the ESRC Rising Powers project, ‘Expanding not Shrinking: the Politics of New Policies to Tackle Poverty and Inequality in Brazil, China, India and South Africa’ led by Professor James Manor at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London.

Her research has been published in a range of journals including Contemporary South Asia; Economic and Political Weekly; Modern Asian Studies; Pacific Affairs; Political Studies; Publius: Journal of Federalism. In addition, she is a co-editor of Regional and Federal Studies. She writes regular columns in the Indian media (including Caravan and Indian Express), and has commented on Indian politics for Al Jazeera, BBC, Financial Times, Sky News, Time magazine among others. Prior to joining academia, Louise worked in various roles in BBC News, including as a South Asia analyst.

remapping india
Louise Tillin Book  
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