Professor Ursula Rao


Ursula Rao is an urban anthropologist researching in India. The central focus of her work is changing power relations in rapidly globalising cities, with regards to topics such as: (1) the interaction between urban poor and state agencies in a landscape of  shifting ideologies of urbanity and social security; (2) the changing role of media and technology for shaping urban spaces and politics; (3) The role of religious institutions and ritual performances for negotiating urban relations. Her current work focusses on e-goverance, biometric technology and smart cities. Before joining the University of Leipzig, Ursula Rao held academic positions at the University of Heidelberg (1999-2002), the University of Halle (2002-2006) and the University of New South Wales, Sydney (2007-2012).

Selected publications: 

·         Magurie, Mark, Ursula Rao, Nils Zurawski (eds.) (2018) Bodies as Evidence: Security, knowledge and power. Durham:  Duke University Press 

·         Rao, Ursula (2018) ‘Biometric Bodies, or how to make fingerprinting technology work in India.’ Body & Society 24(3): 68-94

·         Rao, Ursula (2013) ‘Tolerated Encroachment: Resettlement policies and the negotiation of the licit/illicit divide in an Indian metropolis.’ Cultural Anthropology 28(4): 760-779

·         Rao, Ursula (2013) ‘Biometric Marginality: UID and the shaping of homeless identities in the city.’ Economic and Political Weekly 48: 1-7

·         Rao, Ursula (2010) ‘Making the global city: Urban citizenship at the margins of Delhi.’ Ethnos 75(4): 402-424

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