Everyday life, ethics, anthropology and philosophy, urban transformations, poverty, violence, gender, social suffering, aesthetics, South Asia, Europe.
Veena Das is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology at the Johns Hopkins University. Before joining Johns Hopkins University in 2000, she taught at the Delhi School of Economics for more than thirty years and also held a joint appointment at the New School for Social Research from 1997- 2000. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Academy of Scientists from Developing Countries. She was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2009 and the Anders Retzius Award of the Swedish Society of Anthropology and Geography in 1995 and the Ghurye Award in 1977. She received an honorary doctorate from the University of Chicago in 2000 and from the University of Edinburgh in 2014. Most recently she was awarded the Nessim Habif Prize by the University of Geneva.
Veena Das’s research covers a range of fields. She is passionately interested in the question of how ethnography generates concepts; how we might treat philosophical and literary traditions from India and other regions as generative of theoretical and practical understanding of the world; how to render the texture and contours of everyday life; and the way everyday and the event are joined together in the making of the normal and the critical. Her work on collective violence and urban transformations has appeared in many anthologies. Her most recent books are Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary (2007) Affliction: Health, Disease, Poverty (2015) and three co-edited volumes, The Ground Between: Anthropologists Engage Philosophy (2014), Living and Dying in the Contemporary World: A Compendium (2015) and Politics of the Urban Poor (forthcoming). Her graduate students are working on a number of issues in different parts of the world and her work is deeply informed by her heady interactions with them.
Veena Das has taught graduate level courses in which she take students through major concepts (networks, relations, ontology, ethics, the subjunctive, sovereignty , etc.) embedded in ethnographic texts for the Proseminar; how to find a thematic within a region (Regions course); how to analyze the pre-dissertation fieldwork so as to write a paper that is anthropological (Methods course). She has taught graduate level courses on Anthropology and Historiography, Performance Theory and Anthropology and Philosophy. She has taught upper level undergraduate courses on the themes of Death and Dying. Violence and Non-Violence, Visual Vocabularies in Medicine, and lower level courses such as “Invitation to Anthropology” Students are expected to do groups work to learn the virtues of co-operation.
From the proximity fuse that helped the Allies win World War II to the first “blue baby” operation that opened the way to modern heart surgery, Johns Hopkins University boasts a history and culture of innovation and discovery.
To celebrate and support this culture, the Office of the Provost has launched the Provost’s Project on Innovation to spotlight Johns Hopkins faculty who are on discovery’s frontline. New profiles will be added throughout the year and will feature wide-ranging conversations with innovative thinkers from every division.