Shalini Randeria

Shalini Randeria was Rector of the Institute for Human Sciences from 2015 to 2021, when she was elected President and Rector of the Central European University. She was Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva, as well as the Director of the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy at the IHEID. She continues to hold the Excellence Chair at the University of Bremen, leading a research group on Soft Authoritarianism and she is a Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto.

She is currently a member of the Editorial Boards of Public Anthropologist and of The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology as well as a member of the Advisory Board of the journal Comparative Migration Studies and the Scientific Committee of the Department for European Policy and the Study of Democracy (DED), Danube University. She serves on the Board of European Forum Alpbach, the Board of Trustees of the Central European University (CEU), the Academic Advisory Board of the Wien Museum as well as the Advisory Board of the Higher Education Support Program of the Open Society Foundations. She has published widely on the anthropology of globalization, law, the state and social movements. Her empirical research on India addresses issues of post-coloniality and multiple modernities.

Fields of Research:
  • Anthropology of law: transnationalisation of law; legal pluralism; informal justice/non-state institutions in the area of family law
  • Anthropology of globalization and development
  • Anthropology of state and public policy: reproductive rights, population policy and gender, environmental justice, displacement, privatization of common property resources
  • Civil society, social movements and NGOs
  • Multiple modernities and post-coloniality
  • Regional Focus: South Asia
Selected Publications:

Der Corona-Impfstoff zwischen geostrategischem Instrument und globalem öffentlichen Gut, in: Bernd Kortmann / Günther G. Schulze (Hg.): Jenseits von Corona. Unsere Welt nach der Pandemie – Perspektiven aus der WissenschaftBielefeld: transcript, 2020, 71-80.

Unfreezing Unspent Social Special-Purpose Funds for the Covid-19 Crisis: Critical Reflections from India (with Deval Desai), in: World Development, Volume 136, Elsevier, December 2020.

Emergency Use of Public Funds: Implications for Democratic Governance (with Deval Desai and Christine Lutringer), in: Global Challenges, Special Issue “Politics of the Coronavirus Pandemic”, No. 1, June 2020.

Taking Monsanto to Court: Legal Activism Around Intellectual Property in Brazil and India (with Karine Peschard), in: The Journal of Peasant Studies, DOI, 2020. 

‘Keeping Seeds in Our Hands’: the Rise of Seed Activism (with Karine Peschard), in: The Journal of Peasant Studies, DOI, 2020. 

The migrant position: Dynamics of political and cultural exclusion (with Evangelos Karagiannis), in: Theory, Culture & Society, Vol. 37, No 7-8 (December), 219-231.

Social Science at the Crossroads (co-edited with Björn Wittrock), Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2019.

Wenn Demokratien demokratisch untergehen (co-edited with Ludger Hagedorn and Katharina Hasewend), Wien: Passagen Verlag, 2019

Anthropological Perspectives on the Limits of the State (with Andrew Brandel), in: Draude, Anke, Tanja A. Börzel, and Thomas Risse (eds.): The Oxford Handbook on Governance and Limited Statehood. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2018, 68-88.

Locations and Locutions: Unravelling the concept of ‘World Anthropology’ (with Andrew Brandel and Veena Das), in: Laurence Roulleau-Berger and Peilin Li (eds): Post-Western Sociology. From China to Europe. Ocxon/New York: Routledge, 2018, 88-105.

Exclusion as a Liberal Imperative: Culture, Gender, and the Orientalization of Migration (with Evangelos Karagiannis), in: Bachmann-Medick, Doris/ Kugele, Jens (eds.): Migration: Changing Concepts, Critical Approaches (Concepts for the Study of Culture, Vol. 7), Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 229-252, 2018.

Migration and Borders of Citizenship (with Ravi Palat), special issue of Refugee Watch. A South Asian Journal on Forced Migration, 2017.

Border Crossings: Grenzverschiebungen und Grenzüberschreitungen in einer globalisierten Welt, Zürich: Vdf Hochschulverlag, 2016

(Neo-)Koloniale Diskurse – Postkoloniale Gegendiskurse (with María do Mar Castro Varela and Nikita Dhawan), in: Diskursanalyse des (Post)Kolonialismus. Weinheim/Basel: Beltz Juventa, Zeitschrift für Diskursforschung, Heft 3, 2016, 222-240.

Zwischen Begeisterung & Unbehagen – Ein anthropologischer Blick auf den Begriff der Kultur (with Evangelos Karagiannis), in: Sybille de la Rosa, Sophia Schubert, Holger Zapf (ed.) Transkulturelle politische Theorie – Eine Einführung (Trans- und interkulturelle Politische Theorie und Ideengeschichte), Wiesbaden: Springer Verlag, 2016, 63-83.

Politics of the Urban Poor: Aesthetics, Ethics, Volatility, Precarity. An Introduction to Supplement 11 (with Veena Das), in: Politics of the Urban PoorCurrent Anthropology, Special Issue (commisioned volume), Vol. 56, No. 11, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2015, 3-14.

Social Sciences and Public Debates: The Case of India (with Veena Das), in: Socio, Dossier: Inventer les sciences sociales postoccidentales (expanded version of Das and Randeria, 2014) No. 5, 2015, 81-98.

Anthropology, Now and Next: Diversity, Connections, Confrontations, Reflexivity (co-edited with Thomas Hylland Eriksen and Christina Garsten), New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2015.

Jenseits des Eurozentrismus: Postkoloniale Perspektiven in den Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften (gemeinsam herausgegeben mit Sebastian Conrad und Regina Römhild), Frankfurt/Main: Campus Verlag, 2. erweiterte Edition, 2014.

Critical Mobilities (co-edited with Ola Soderstrom, Didier Ruedin, Gianni D’Amato and Francesco Panese), Abingdon: Routledge, 2013.


Democracy in Question is a podcast series hosted by Shalini Randeria that features some of the most important voices in contemporary academia. Together they reflect on democratic experiences and experiments the world over and explore whether this crisis of democracy represents a historically unique challenge or whether parallels to political crises in the past can be discerned. 

This podcast series is co-produced by the Graduate Institute’s Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy and the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) Vienna, in cooperation with the Research Group: Soft Authoritarianism, University of Bremen and in collaboration with Richard Miron and Anouk Millet (Earshot strategies).

Further Reading:

Conference Report:

Former IWM Rectors:

Cornelia Klinger, Acting Rector
Michael J. Sandel, Acting Rector

Krzysztof Michalski, Founding Rector