Lalit K. Batra

|Lecturer
Academic Appointments

Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Geography

I am an urban geographer whose research interests straddle three broad thematic areas: 1) urbanization in a global frame, with particular focus on south-south connections; 2) political ecology of infrastructure and environmental practice in South Asia; and 3) comparative geographies of caste and race in India and the US respectively. My dissertation project examined the co-production of environmental sanitation and urban marginality in India by focusing on historical formation, socio-spatial ordering, and everyday workings of Delhi’s ‘modern’ wastewater system in relation to social history and everyday life of the city’s lower-caste sanitation workers.

+ View more

Contact

HB 6017

Education

  • B.A. University of Delhi, India
  • M.A. Pondicherry University, India
  • Ph.D. University of Minnesota

Selected Publications

  • EDITED VOLUMES

    Batra, L. (2007). The Urban Poor in Globalizing India: Eviction and Marginalization, New Delhi: Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam Publications Pvt. Ltd.

    Batra, L. and Roy, D. (2005). Draft Delhi Master Plan 2021: Blueprint for an Apartheid City, New Delhi: Sanchal Foundation.

    Roy, D. and Batra, L. (2003). Dilli Kiski Hai?: Yojana ki Rajneeti aur Aniyojit ka Hastakshep, (Whose Delhi is it?: The Politics of Planning and Intervention of the Unplanned) (in Hindi), New Delhi: Sanchal Foundation.

     

    PEER-REVIEWED ARTICLES AND BOOK CHAPTERS

    Manson, S. M., J. Shannon, S. Eria, Kne, L., Dyke, K.R., Nelson, S., Batra, L., Bonsal, D., Kernik, M., Immich, J.L., and L. Matson. (2014). Resource Needs and Pedagogical Value of Web Mapping for Spatial Thinking. Journal of Geography 113 (3): 107-117.

    Batra, L. (2012). The Politics of Exclusion: Slum Demolitions and World-Class Aspirations. In Chaturvedi (ed), Finding Delhi: Loss and Renewal in the Megacity, New Delhi: Penguin India.

    Batra, L. and Mehra, D. (2008). The Demolition of Slums and the Production of Neoliberal Space in Delhi. In Mahadevia (ed), Inside Transforming Urban Asia: Processes, Policies and Public Actions, New Delhi: Concept Publishing Co.

    Batra, L. (2007). The JNNURM and Urban Reforms in Globalizing India. In Batra (ed), The Urban Poor in Globalizing India: Eviction and Marginalization, New Delhi: Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam Publications Pvt. Ltd.

    Batra, L. and Mehra, D. (2006). Neo-Liberal Delhi: Through the Lens of Yamuna Pushta Demolitions. In Ahuja and Brosius (eds), Mumbai Delhi Kolkata: Approaches to Metropolitan Cities in India, Heidelberg: Draupadi Verlag.

    Batra, L. (2005). Vanishing Livelihoods in a Global Metropolis. In Batra and Roy (eds). Draft Delhi Master Plan 2021: Blueprint for an Apartheid City, New Delhi: Sanchal Foundation.

     

    WORKING PAPERS

    Batra, L. (2012). “A Review of Urbanization and Urban Policy in Post-Independent India,” Centre for the Study of Law and Governance (CSLG) Working Paper Series, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Pg. 1-47.

    Batra, L. (2009). “The Politics of Exclusion: Planning, Prestige, Profits and People in Modern Delhi,” Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) Working Paper Series, London: University of Westminster. Pg. 1-35.

     

    BOOK REVIEWS and NON-PEER REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS

    Batra, L. (2017). “Infrastructures of Modernity and the Labor of Sanitation in Urban India,” https://refugeewatchonline.wordpress.com/2017/08/06/infrastructures-of-modernity-and-the-labor-of-sanitation-in-urban-india/

    Batra, L. (2016). “The City Revealed as a Long Debate,” (Invited review of Sanjay Srivastava’s ‘Entangled Urbanism: Slum, Gated Community and Shopping Mall in Delhi and Gurgaon,’ Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2014). Biblio: A Review of Books, XXI: 9-11.

    Batra, L. (2013). Middle Class Mobilization, Urban Reforms, and the Politics of Bhagidari: Observations from New Delhi. In Coelho, Kamath and Vijayabaskar (eds), Participolis: Consent and Contention in Neoliberal Urban India, New Delhi: Routledge.

    Batra, L. (2012). “The Public and the Private,” (Invited review of Saraswati Raju (ed.) ‘Doing Gender, Doing Geography: Emerging Research in India,’ Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2011). Biblio: A Review of Books, XVII: 3-4.

    Batra, L. (2012). “Sewers and Sewerage Workers in India,” Antipode Foundation: https://antipodefoundation.org/2012/06/18/sewers-and-sewerage-workers-in-india/.

    Batra L. (2008). “Deconstructing the ‘World Class’ City,” Seminar 582: 42-46.

    Batra, L. (2008). “Malls for Mills,” (Invited review of Darryl D’Monte (ed.) ‘Mills for Sale,’ Marg Publications, Mumbai, 2006). Biblio: A Review of Books, XIII: 3-4.

    Batra, L. (2006). “Trajectory of Urban Change in Neo-Liberal India: The Case of JNNURM,” Janta Magazine, May.

    Batra, L. (2005). “Suno Nadi Kya Kehti Hai: Ek Basti Ke Ujadne-Basne ki Kahani,” (In Hindi, ‘Listen, What the River Says: The Story of a Neighborhood’s Making and Unmaking’), Ankur Educational Society, New Delhi.

    Batra, L. (2004). “Politics of Pollution in Global Delhi,” Liberation Magazine, October.

    Batra, L. (2004). “Badalte Shehar Mein Rozgar,” (In Hindi, ‘Livelihoods in a Transforming City’), Labor Outreach Series, Hazards Centre, New Delhi. 

Speaking Engagements

INVITED LECTURES AND PRESENTATIONS

2019. “Political Ecology of Urban Wastewater in India’s National Capital Territory,” in the graduate seminar on ‘Urban Natures,’ Department of Geography, Rutgers University, March.

2017. “The City and Its Outcastes: Habitations of Subalternity in Contemporary India,” in a forthcoming workshop titled, ‘For a Poetics of Subaltern Life-Worlds: New Research, New Imaginaries of Informal Economies in Contemporary India,’ Simpson Center for the Humanities, the South Asia Center and the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, December.

2017. “The ‘Native’ and the ‘Sweeper’ in the Colonial Urban Sanitation Discourse in India,” South Asia Seminar Series, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, University of Minnesota, October.

2017. “Manholes of the Metropolis: Power, Desire, and Subjectivity in the ‘Hindu’ City,” in a workshop titled, ‘Looking for Butterflies: A Glossary for Living on the Edge in Urban India,’ Department of Geography, Rutgers University, June.

2017. “Untouchable Labor and Wastewater Infrastructure: The Cultural Politics of Sanitation in Delhi,” Department of Geography, University of British Columbia.

2017. “Untouchable Labor and Wastewater Ecologies: The Social Life of Sewers and Drains in Contemporary India,” Department of Geography, University of Colorado, Boulder.

2016. “Untouchable Bodies and Wastewater Flows: Sighting the Nation from the Underbelly of a Sanitary City,” Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University, August.

2016. “Gases, Cockroaches, and Bare Bodies: Dalits and the Politics of Sanitation in Postcolonial Delhi,” Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Global Change, University of Minnesota, March.

2015: “Infrastructures of Exception: Sewers and Sewage Workers in Metropolitan Delhi,”

Jindal Global Law School, O. P. Jindal Global University, India, May.

2015: “Understanding the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) Moment: Preliminary Notes towards a Genealogy of Delhi’s Current Conjuncture,” Department of Education, Ambedkar University, Delhi, March.

2014: “Sewerage Planning Infrastructure and Caste Politics in Delhi”, in the Conference on ‘Urban Futures in the Asian Century: Uncertainty, Speculation, Experimentation’, organized by the London School of Economics, New Delhi, November.

2014: “The Cultural Politics of Sanitation in Delhi,” University Grants Commission Faculty Refresher Lectures, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, October.

2010: “Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Urban Poor in ‘World Class’ Delhi,” South Asia

Seminar Series, University of Minnesota, October.

2010: “People, Places and Institutions in an Aspiring ‘World Class’ City,” International Conference on Urban Ecologies in Asia, Hong Kong Institute of the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Hong Kong, March.

2009: “Urban Poverty and Delhi’s Urban Reforms,” Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto, October.

2009: “Middle Class Mobilization, Urban Reforms, and the Politics of Bhagidari: Observations from New Delhi,” in the Conference on ‘Consent and Contention in Neoliberal Urban India’, organized by the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Pondicherry, India, July.

2009: “The Neoliberal Conjuncture: Refashioning Spatial and Labor Geographies in Delhi,” in the Workshop on ‘Urban Marginality’, organized by the Department of Geography, Durham University, UK, June.

2008: “The Idea of the ‘World Class’ City: The Social and Ecological Impacts of Commonwealth Games in Delhi,” Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, London, October.

2008: “Slum Dwellers and Neoliberal Restructuring of Urban Space in Delhi,” presented in the Workshop on ‘Political Ecology,’ organized by the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, March.

2007: “Slum Demolitions, Industrial Closures and the Production of Elite Urban Spaces: Revisiting the Contradictions of ‘Master Planning’ in Delhi,” Ramanadham Memorial Lecture, People’s Union of Democratic Rights, Delhi, September.

2007: “The Neoliberal Turn: Slum Dwellers, Civil Society and State Action in Contemporary Delhi,” presented in the National Conference on ‘Expanding Freedom: Towards Social and Economic Transformation in a Globalizing World’, organized by the Indian Council for Social Science Research, Delhi, April.

2007: “Whither Indian Cities: Missing Jobs and Affordable Shelter in New Urban Reform Agenda,” Habitat International Coalition, World Social Forum, Nairobi, January.

2007: “The Future of Socialism/ Socialist Futures,” South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy, World Social Forum, Nairobi, January.

2006: “Five Myths about the Proposed Privatization of Water in Delhi?” Academic Staff College, University of Delhi, February.

2005: “The Politics and Aesthetics of the Master Plan of Delhi,” Department of Urban Design, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, October.

2004: “Demolition of Yamuna Pushta Slums and the Making of Neoliberal Delhi,” Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, April.

2004: “Excavating the Logics of Exclusion in India’s Post-Independence Urban Process,” Habitat International Coalition, World Social Forum, Mumbai, January.

2003: “Housing and Livelihood Planning in Post-Independence Delhi,” Worldwide Fund for Nature-India, Delhi, November. 

 

CONFERENCE, SEMINAR, AND WORKSHOP PRESENTATIONS

2019: “Manholes of Caste and the Indian City,” presented on the panel, ‘Margins of the Indian City,’ Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference, Washington DC, March.

2018: “The City and Its Outcast(e)s,” presented on the panel, ‘Spatiality and Power in South Asia,’ Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference, Washington DC, March.

2016: “Caste-subalterns are Urban Infrastructure: Valmiki Samaj and the Politics of Sanitation in Postcolonial Delhi,” presented on the panel, Reincarnation after Ruination: The Afterlives of Technologies, Industries and Labor in South Asia’, Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin, Madison, October.

2016: “Caste-subalterns and Energy Infrastructure: Antinomies of India’s ‘Poop to Power’ Plants,” presented on the panel, ‘Political Temporalities of Energy Infrastructure’, at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, San Francisco, March.

2014: “Bernard Stiegler and the Rumor of Posthumanism,” presented on the panel, “Posthuman Political Ecology’, at the Dimensions of Political Ecology Annual Conference, University of Kentucky, Lexington, February.

2013: “Notes from the Netherworld: Sewers and Sewage Workers in Contemporary Delhi,” presented on the panel, ‘Working with the Remains: Waste, Work and the Everyday in Contemporary India’, Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin, Madison, October.

2010: “Accumulation by Dispossession: The Politics of Slum Demolitions in an Aspiring World-Class City,” presented on the panel, ‘Urbanization, Liberalization, and Governmentalities’, Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin, Madison, October.

2007: “The Capital City or the City of Capital,” presented on the panel, ‘Political Economy of Restructuring and Gentrification in South and South-east Asian Cities’, 5th International Critical Geography Conference, Mumbai, December.

2007. “Mapping Urban Poverty and Vulnerability in Contemporary India,” presented in the workshop, ‘Understanding Recent Shifts in India’s Urban Shelter and Employment Planning’, organized by Action Aid International, Kolkata, India, December.  

2006: “Evicting People, Destroying Livelihoods: The ‘Other Face’ of Delhi’s Emerging Land Politics,” presented at the Conference on ‘Tackling Exclusion: Shelter, Basic Services, and Citizens’ Rights in Globalizing Mega Cities of Asia,’ organized by Centre for Development Alternatives, Delhi, June.  

2006: “Land Use Planning and Informal Sector Livelihoods in Post-Independence Delhi,” presented in the workshop, ‘Right to Shelter and Basic Services in Globalizing Mega Cities of India’, co-organized by Centre for Development Alternatives, and Institute of Social Studies Hague, Ahmedabad, India, February.

2005: “Access to Water in Delhi’s Slum Resettlement Colonies,” presented in the National Consultation on ‘Asian Development Bank and Water Privatization in India’, organized by the Indian National Social Action Forum, Delhi, October.

2005: “Indian Judiciary, Middle Class Activism, and Changing Lives of the Poor in Delhi”, presented in ‘Ensuring Public Accountability Through Public Action’, organized by Institute of Social Studies Trust, Delhi, May. 

2004: “The Everyday Life of Water in Delhi’s Informal Neighborhoods,” presented in the ‘Annual SARAI-CSDS Fellows Workshop’, Delhi, November.

Works In Progress

Batra, L. ‘The Antinomies of Subaltern Urbanism: The Postcolonial City beyond the ‘Identity/Difference’ Paradigm,’ Economic and Political Weekly. (Submission: Oct 2019).

Batra, L. ‘Pipedreams: The Eco-politics of Sanitary Reforms in Postcolonial India,’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. (Submission: Dec 2019).

Batra, L. ‘Waterscapes of Development: Producing ‘Green’ Infrastructures and Disposable Bodies in Postcolonial Delhi,’ Antipode. (Submission: Feb 2020)