Solo-cities – About the Speakers

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Solo-cities:  Representations of the ‘Single’ in Urban Spaces – 
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Laila Abu-Er-Rub

is the coordinator of the SINGLE project. She received her M.A. degree in Cultural Anthropology, Religious Studies (Heidelberg University) and Media Studies (University of Mannheim). Laila’s doctoral dissertation “Goldene Zeiten: Mode und Körper im neoliberalen Indien (Golden Times: fashion and body in neoliberal India)” is currently under revision for publication. Her research for SINGLE examines professional single women in the creative industries.

Shaheen Ahmed

Shaheen is currently pursuing her M.Phil. in Visual Arts from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She graduated in the Masters in Arts and Aesthetics from J.N.U in 2012. She has presented papers at national and international seminars such as IACS Conference at National University of Singapore, 2013, the University of Newcastle, Australia in 2014 and Karavan-e-Fikr at Jamia Milia Islami in 2011 and 2012. Her core interests are popular culture, gender, cultural anthropology as well as the politics of the body. She works with video art, text art and photography. Her first video artwork Refuse/Resist was screened at many festivals and exhibitions and has also won an international award.

Jyothsna Latha Belliappa            

is Associate Professor in the School of Education, Azim Premji University, Bangaluru, where she teaches in the areas of Gender and Sociology. She previously taught at the University of York, UK, from where she also obtained a PhD in Women’s Studies. Jyothsna’s research interests include gender, class, self-identity and the relationship between work and personal life. Her current research is on career narratives of women in the school teaching profession. Her previous research, which examined the influence that discourses of individual choice and responsibility have on the self-identities of women employed in the Information Technology industry, has been published by Palgrave Macmillan, UK in a book titled Gender, Class and Reflexive Modernity in India. She also has an interest in feminist and critical pedagogies.

Lucie Bernroider

studied Social and Cultural Anthropology and Political Science at the University of Vienna, from which she graduated with distinction. Her Ph.D. project took her to the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” at the University of Heidelberg where she is a part of the HERA project SINGLE, researching urban change and gendered subjectivities in Shanghai and Delhi, supervised by Christiane Brosius. Her research documents strategies of urban place-making and contesting notions of gender, autonomy and access to urban space in Delhi. Lucie’s further research interests include media anthropology, political anthropology and studies on violence and social memory.

Brinda Bose

teaches at the Centre for English Studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and is co-founder of MargHumanities, an initiative started in 2011 for conversations about the state of the arts and humanities in India and globally. Her primary areas of research and writing are gender/sexuality/culture studies in South Asia, Modernist aesthetics and politics, and Humanities studies. She is the editor of Translating Desire (Katha) and Gender and Censorship (Women Unlimited) and the co-editor of The Phobic and the Erotic (Seagull/U of Chicago P).

Christiane Brosius

Professor Christiane Brosius is project leader for the sub-project ‘Autonomy’ within the HERA SINGLE project. She is professor of Visual and Media Anthropology at the Karl Jaspers Centre for Transcultural Studies (Heidelberg University). Her research interests are transnational communities, ritual and performance in urban youth cultures in India and Nepal, Hindu nationalism, popular culture and contemporary art, mega-cities and urbanization. Her research topic within SINGLE is ‘Experiencing and Imagining Inside and Outside: Autonomy, Safety and Risk‘.

Melissa Butcher

Dr Melissa Butcher is Reader in Social and Cultural Geography (Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies, Birkbeck College, University of London) and project leader of the sub-project ‘Respectability’. Her research examines the intersections between globalisation and contested urban space, processes of urban and cultural change in European and Asian cities, questions of identity and belonging, and the deployment of intercultural competencies to manage diversity. Within SINGLE her research focuses on middle aged, middle class and single women in India, to further understand ‘respectability’ as a form of spatial governmentality. Recent publications include Managing cultural change: reclaiming synchronicity in a mobile world (2011 Ashgate), and Dissent and cultural resistance in Asia’s cities (editor, 2009, Routledge)

Priyanka Chhabra

Priyanka’s practice delicately balances itself in the interstices of the imagined and the real. Through her work she has tried to understand and articulate the relationship between internal and external realities, almost always touching upon the tiny details within the landscape of the human mind. Exploring the landscape of imagination through the everyday usually situated in domestic or intimate spaces and how it comes into relation with the physical world outside. Her work has been screened at national and international festivals including the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Frauen Film Festival Köln, Aesthetica Film Festival and Mumbai International Film Festival.

Sheba Chhachhi

Sheba Chhachhi is an artist and activist with feminist and ecological questions at the core of her work. Chhachhi articulates a range of concerns through her lens-based work including gender, ecology, violence, urbanization and visual cultures, with a particular emphasis on the recuperation of cultural memory. She began in the 1980s, both activist and photographer, documenting the women’s movement in India. By the 1990s, Chhachhi had moved to creating collaborative staged photographs, eventually turning to large photo based multimedia installations. Chhachhi creates immersive environments, bringing the contemplative into the political in both site-specific public art and independent works. She has exhibited widely, published and presented papers both in India and abroad. She lives and works in New Delhi.

Maddalena Chiellini

is currently enrolled as a Ph.D.-candidate in Human Geography at Birkbeck College, University of London under the supervision of Dr. Melissa Butcher. She is member of the SINGLE research project team. She earned a BA in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from the University of Bologna, and a MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies (Anthropology) from SOAS, University of London, where she also worked as a research assistant. She is conducting research in Delhi as part of her degree, and has worked for four years as a Direction Assistant at River to River, Florence Indian Film Festival.

CHOW Yiu Fai

Born in Hong Kong, Chow Yiu Fai received his PhD degree at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam. Currently an Assistant Professor at the Department of Humanities and Creative Writing of Hong Kong Baptist University, Chow is also an award-winning lyric writer. He released his first lyrics in 1989. Since then he has penned some 1,000 lyrical works for a diversity of pop artists in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China. Lately, Chow has been increasingly involved in prose writing, multi-media and visual art projects.

Arunava Dasgupta

Arunava Dasgupta is an architect and urban designer, his research over the last two decades focuses on human settlements in transition. He teaches in the School of Planning and Architecture and formerly TVB School of Habitat Studies, New Delhi. He is a founder member of the Institute of Urban Designers, India.

Anindita Datta

is Associate Professor at the Department of Geography, Delhi School of Economics.   Her research interests are broadly in the area of Feminist geographies and the Geographies of Gender and in particular the issues of gendered and epistemic violence, resistance, agency and desire.

Apart from introducing new courses in these areas, Anindita teaches postgraduate courses on Geographical  Thought  and Social Geography. She has published consistently in internationally known peer reviewed journals with an interdisciplinary perspective and is on the international editorial board for Gender Place and Culture. She is a member of the steering committee of the International Geographical Union’s Commission for Gender and Geography and also been elected into the Society for Women Geographers, USA.  Anindita has been invited as visiting faculty to the Dept of Gender Studies, Lund University Sweden under the Linneaus Palme programme,  held an Erasmus Mundus fellowship in the same Dept, been a NORAD fellow at the Centre for Gender and Feminist studies, NTNU Norway, and been invited to deliver talks and keynotes at the Royal Geographical Society, UK,  University of Bordeaux, France, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Nordic Institute of Asian  Studies and University of Copenhagen, Denmark, University of Groningen, the Netherlands among others. Her current work is on visibilising indigenous feminisms and their spatial underpinnings.  She sees no contradiction in her role as mother of three active children and hands on feminist geographer. She can be contacted at

Aparajita De

is an Assistant Professor at Department of Geography, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi. Her research largely falls within the scope of urban and media studies. Aparajita has been working primarily on the theme of popular imaginations, particularly that of space in everyday lives. Aparajita is also the Convenor of the Media Lab and Digital Library in her department and is the Editor in Chief of the blog Cultural Cartographies of Media which attempts to initiate an experimental space and engages with multiple voices – academics, non-academics, and practitioners – who are continually trying to make sense of everyday lifeworlds through media.

University of Delhi weblink: (

Link to CCM blog: (

Oindrila Duttagupta

Oindrila started with still photographic image before graduating to moving images and harbors a keen interest for all the elements that make up a frame. Having completed her post-graduate studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi in Arts & Aesthetics and under-graduate from Hindu College, Delhi University in English Literature, Oindrila is currently a Supervising Producer with the National Film Development Corporation of India. She is interested in popular culture, the internet as a site for media consumption and circulation, literature, performance, visual iconography and of course, cinema. Intrigued by the changing faces of “cinema” and “archive”, she also engages with urban and digital spaces as repositories of art and value. A spoken word artist, dancer and photographer, you can find her skulking around cinema theaters in Delhi.

Shilpi Gulati

Shilpi Gulati is a National Award winning filmmaker and a film researcher. A graduate of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, she is currently pursuing her PhD at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her body of work largely engages with issues of gender, public space and oral histories of communities in India. Her independent films, Qissa e Parsi: The Parsi Story (2014), Dere tun Dilli (2012) and Inside Out (2010) have been screened and awarded at various prestigious international film festivals. In the past, she has been a recipient of the Early Career Fellowship by the Jamsetji Tata Trust (2010) and Public Service Broadcasting Trust (2014).

IP Tsz Ting (Penn)

is a PhD researcher at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA). Penn was a Senior Research Associate at the City University of Hong Kong. She moved to the Netherlands to pursue her Doctoral studies at the University of Amsterdam in 2011. Her research interests include affect theory, migration studies, post-colonialism, globalisation, and queer studies.  Penn’s research, titled “An Affective Home: Rural-Urban Migrant Women in Shanghai,” is conducted under the scope of the HERA-funded project “Creating the ‘New’ Asian Woman: Entanglements of Urban Space, Cultural Encounters and Gendered Identities in Shanghai and Delhi.”

Lucetta Y. L. Kam

Lucetta Y. L. Kam is a researcher, creative writer and queer activist. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Humanities and Creative Writing at Hong Kong Baptist University. She teaches gender, sexuality studies and creative writing. Her research interests are queer ethnography, lesbian studies in Chinese societies, and Hong Kong studies. She is the author of Shanghai Lalas: Female Tongzhi Communities and Politics in Urban China (2013; Chinese edition 2015). Her articles have appeared in Rutledge Handbook of Sexuality Studies in East Asia, As Normal as Possible: Negotiating Gender and Sexuality in Mainland China and Hong Kong, AsiaPacifiQueer: Rethinking Gender and Sexuality in the Asia-Pacific and Journal of Lesbian Studies.

 Jeroen de Kloet

is Professor of Globalisation Studies and Director of the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies (ACGS) at the University of Amsterdam. His work focuses on cultural globalisation, in particular in the context of East Asia. In 2010 he published China with a Cut – Globalisation, Urban Youth and Popular Music (Amsterdam UP). He wrote, together with Yiu Fai Chow, Sonic Multiplicities: Hong Kong Pop and the Global Circulation of Sound and Image (Intellect, 2013) and edited together with Lena Scheen Spectacle and the City – Chinese Urbanities in Art and Popular Culture (Amsterdam UP, 2013).

Ranjani Mazumdar 

is Professor of Cinema Studies at the School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her publications focus on urban cultures, popular cinema, gender and the cinematic city. She is the author of Bombay Cinema: An Archive of the City (2007) and co-author with Nitin Govil of the forthcoming The Indian Film Industry. She has also worked as a documentary filmmaker and her productions include Delhi Diary 2001 and The Power of the Image (Co-Directed). Her current research focuses on globalization and film culture; and the intersection of technology, travel, design and colour in 1960s Bombay Cinema.

Shelly Pandey

Dr. Shelly Pandey is a Fellow at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Teen Murti, Delhi. Prior to this she was a Research Fellow at Women’s Studies and Development Centre, University of Delhi. Her PhD is from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi on gendered experiences of globalized work in India. Her research interests include an interdisciplinary approach to the study of gender, urban spaces, globalization, ICT and work. She is the recipient of the M. N. Srinivas Memorial Prize 2012 awarded by Indian Sociological Society for her paper ‘Private space in public transport: locating gender in Delhi Metro,’ published in Economic and Political Weekly.

Shilpa Phadke

is a researcher, writer and pedagogue. She teaches at the School of Media and Cultural Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She has been educated at St. Xavier’s College, SNDT University, TISS in Mumbai and the University of Cambridge, UK. She is co-author of Why Loiter? Women and Risk on Mumbai Streets (Penguin 2011).  She has published both in academic journals and anthologies and in the popular media. She has previously taught under-graduate sociology as St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Her areas of concern include gender and the politics of space, the middle classes, sexuality and the body, feminist politics among young women, reproductive subjectivities, feminist parenting, and pedagogic practices. She loves the chaotic city of Mumbai and fantasizes that it will one day have a very large park.

PI Chenying

received her bachelor’s degree from Fudan University, China and master’s degree from The University of Tokyo, Japan. She is currently at Heidelberg University working on her doctoral dissertation on young single professional women in Shanghai. Her research interests are mainly in gender issues in contemporary China as well as East Asian popular culture.

Saraswati Raju

Saraswati is Professor at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development (CSRD), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She is interested in gendered marginalities in the labour market, access to literacy/education/skills, empowerment, and gender and space. She has published extensively on these issues in national and international journals of repute. She is one of the founding members for the International Geographic Union (IGU) Commission on Gender and Geography. As member of editorial boards of several international journals, she has been at the forefront in introducing gender studies in Indian geography. Her recent co-edited books include Doing Gender, Doing Geography: Emerging Research in India (2011, Routledge), Gendered Geographies: Space and Place in South Asia (2011, Oxford University Press). She is a recipient of the Janet Monk Service Award (2010), and the 2012 Distinguished Service Award for Asian Geography.

Gillian Rose

is Professor of Cultural Geography at The Open University, UK, and a Fellow of the British Academy.  Her current research interests focus on contemporary digital visual culture, urban spatialities and visual research methodologies.  Her most recent funded research (with Monica Degen) examined how architects work with digital visualising technologies in designing urban redevelopment projects, and she is extending this work into the digital mediation of urban spaces more broadly, particularly in the context of ‘smart cities’.  As well as a number of papers on images and ways of seeing in urban and domestic spaces, she is the author of Feminism and Geography (Polity, 1993) and Doing Family Photography: The Domestic, The Public and The Politics of Sentiment (Ashgate, 2010).  The fourth edition of her bestselling Visual Methodologies (Sage) will be published in 2016.

Gillian blogs at visual/method/culture and tweets @ProfGillian.

 Sreejata Roy

As an artist with a particular interest in community-related projects, for almost a decade Sreejata has been using classical/conventional as well as mixed and digital media, informed by a theoretical framework. During her M.Phil. study in media art at the Coventry School of Art and Design, Coventry University, UK from 2001-2005, Sreejata evolved a culturally embedded form of personal practice within a larger investigation of socio-cultural issues via oral history and ethnography, the narration of daily life, and the formation of subjectivity. Hosted and funded by  a Khoj international residency, Sreejata is presently working on a year long project in Khirkee, an urban village in Delhi, exploring the experience of women in public space. Her work has been awarded scholarships in India and abroad, including the Park project which was selected for the final jury in the International Public Art Awards of 2015. She has participated in many exhibitions, residencies, and workshops at national and international level. Sreejata was also a researcher for the Indian Foundation for Arts exhibition/curatorial policy project with the Centre for Culture Media and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi.

Rashmi Sawhney

is a writer, researcher and academic whose work deals with cinema, visual culture, gender and migration. She is currently faculty at the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore and was previously Associate Professor in Cinema Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, Delhi, and Lecturer in Visual and Cultural Studies at the Centre for Transcultural Research and Media Practice, Dublin. Rashmi also worked with the India Foundation for the Arts, heading IFA’s Arts Practice and Curatorship programmes. She has published in international journals and books and has most recently edited a special issue of the Journal of South Asian Film and Media Cultures on ‘Science Fiction’. She frequently writes for DNA and is currently working on a monograph on Indian women filmmakers from the 1920s-80s.

Sanjay Srivastava

is Professor of Sociology at Jawharlal Nehru University, Delhi. His publications include Constructing Postcolonial India: National Character and the Doon School (1998), Asia: Cultural Politics in the Global Age (2001, co-authored), Sexual Sites, Seminal Attitudes. Sexualities, Masculinities and Culture in South Asia (2004, contributing editor), Passionate Modernity, Sexuality, Class and Consumption in India (2007), Sexuality Studies (2013, contributing editor), and Entangled Urbanism: Slum, Gated Community and Shopping Mall in Delhi and Gurgaon. He is currently working on a project on urban spaces and urban politics. Sanjay is also co-editor of the journal Contributions to Indian Sociology.

 Nisha Susan

is a writer and editor. She is a founder-editor of the feminist zine The Ladies Finger. She was until recently an editor at Yahoo! Originals, the first long-form journalism destination on Yahoo! India. Earlier, she was Features Editor at Tehelka magazine. Nisha is currently a columnist for The Hindu’s BLink magazine. Her short fiction has been published by n+1 magazine, Penguin, Zubaan, Out of Print and Pratilipi.

Patricia Uberoi

was Professor of Sociology at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, and is currently Honorary Fellow and Chairperson of the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi. Her central interests are in issues of family, kinship and popular culture in both India and China.

Paromita Vohra

is a filmmaker and writer whose work focuses on gender, cities life, desire and popular culture. Her films include the path-breaking Unlimited Girls and Q2P as well as Partners in Crime, Morality TV and the Loving Jehad, Where’s Sandra, Cosmopolis:Two Tales of A City and A Woman’s Place. She recently directed the cutting-edge prime time TV series Connected Hum Tum. She has written the feature Khamosh Pani (Silent Waters). Her writing has been published in various anthologies and journals including Bombay Meri Jaan, The Tranquebar Book of Indian Erotica, Signs, South Asian Journal of Popular Culture, Bioscope, Tehelka, Elle, Outlook, Vogue, India Today and Yahoo Originals. Paromita is a columnist with Sunday Mid-day and Mumbai Mirror. She is currently working on Agents of Ishq a multi-media, digital project about sex, love and desire.

More at: Less:@parodevi

Syeda Jenifa Zahan

is currently working on her PhD research at Department of Geography, National University of Singapore (NUS). Prior to joining NUS she was working as a Programme Manager with Deshkal Society, a non-profit organisation in India. She has completed her M.Phil from National University of Educational Planning and Administration, India (2011) and MA in Geography (2009) from Delhi School of Economics, India. She is a human geographer by training, and gender, urban spaces, and education are her interest areas. She has been working with various international and national developmental agencies in India at different capacities since 2009.