Show/hide main menu

Raphael Susewind

Raphael Susewind

r-susewindLecturer in Social Anthropology and Development

Email: raphael.susewind@kcl.ac.uk
 
Location: Bush House NE 4.14
 

Office hours for 2018/19: Wednesdays 10-12 (term 1) / by appointment (term 2)

If you want to discuss sensitive matter, say feedback on exams, fieldwork material or personal issues in Raphael's role as PGT Tutor, you are encouraged to encrypt your emails using his PGP key (available from https://keybase.io/raphaelsusewind#show-public). Though not mandated by college policy, encryption is quite easy to set up and would protect your communication (see https://emailselfdefense.fsf.org/en for a step-by-step guide).

 

Biography

Raphael trained in politics (Dipl-Pol, Marburg 2009), area studies (MSc, Oxford 2010) and sociology / social anthropology (PhD, Bielefeld 2015).

Using a distinct mix of ethnographic and Big Data methods grounded in long-term fieldwork, Raphael explores geographies of Muslim belonging, the ambivalence of the sacred and electoral politics in urban India. He is the author of 'Being Muslim and working for peace: Ambivalence and ambiguity in Gujarat' (SAGE 2013) and published in journals such as Economic & Political Weekly, Environment and Planning A, Field Methods, the Journal of South Asian Development and SAMAJ. He has also written research software, curates a comprehensive open dataset on religion and politics in India and occasionally blogs at www.raphael-susewind.de.

At King's, Raphael teaches core development anthropology and mixed methods and supervises research students. He especially welcomes PhD proposals that concern popular politics, religion and/or the political economy of contemporary South Asia.

Beyond King's, Raphael collaborates with the ERC-funded project 'For Digital Dignity' at LMU Munich and as Associate of the Contemporary South Asia Studies Program at the University of Oxford. He also acts as the reviews editor of Contemporary South Asia.

Research

Broadly speaking, Raphael studies popular politics, religious conflict, the political economy of corruption and urban development in North India, building on ethnographic, statistical and spatial data generated in so far 18 months of fieldwork since 2008, primarily among the country's large and diverse Muslim population. He has also written research software, curates a comprehensive public repository of statistics on religion and politics in India and contributes to open data initiatives.

While much work on religion and politics in India aims to understand Hindu-Muslim riots, engineered by politicians who exploit communal prejudice for electoral gain, and in the process tends to treat Muslim Indians as a monolithic block, his research pays closer attention to religio-political dynamics within religious communities and asks how these intersect with growing aspirations for 'development'.

Raphael's first monograph on ambivalence and ambiguity in Gujarat for instance studied the production of peace (rather than violence) by showing how both developmentalist and faith-based activists link political protest to religious ideas and communal belonging in a post-conflict setting. Through subsequent publications, he revealed the fallability of instrumental calculations in fluid religio-political contexts and demonstrated how Muslims' electoral choices mirror those of non-Muslims, varying across time and space in response to local demography and political history. Most recently, he intervened in the heated debate on Muslim 'ghettos' in Indian cities, arguing that these are not necessarily the straightforward product of communal violence - as has been assumed so far - but that financial and social pull factors equally contribute to residential clustering. To support this view, he demonstrated how a socially segmented bureaucracy structures the political economy of urban development and how certain kinds of local knowledge determine how built reality is perceived, navigated and marked as 'ghettoized' - irrespective of actual degrees of segregation.

Raphael's overarching aim with all of this is to lift the study of Muslim South Asia, which has long been caught in ideological readings and a partition- or at least violence-centric perspective, to the same level of theoretical as well as, crucially, methodological sophistication that characterizes the study of non-Muslim sociality. In the long run, studying how Muslim Indians navigate wider social change within the context of the world's largest secular democracy should also help to rebut persistent claims of Muslim exceptionalism in global academic as well as popular discourse.

Publications

For Raphael's Publications please click here

Teaching

At King's, Raphael teaches core development anthropology and mixed methods and supervises research students. He especially welcomes PhD proposals that concern popular politics, religion and/or the political economy of contemporary South Asia. As the department's PGT Tutor, he also looks after the academic welfare and psycho-social well-being of our Masters students and oversees personal tutoring arrangements for them.

In the 2018/19 academic year, Raphael is teaching qualitative methods to postgraduates and an introduction to political anthropology (called 'Social justice: ethnographic perspectives') to undergraduates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sitemap Site help Terms and conditions  Privacy policy  Accessibility  Modern slavery statement  Contact us

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454