Professor Nikita Sud

Professor of the Politics of Development, Oxford Department of International Development; Fellow of Wolfson College


Professor Nikita Sud’s research focuses on the politics of global development, the neo-liberal transformation of postcolonial states and governance, and the political sociology, political economy, and ecology of contemporary India.

She has written extensively on the Indian state, in particular, its engagement with development as an idea and in practice; its interaction with minorities based on gender, caste and religion; and the reinvention rather than recession of this entity under economic liberalisation. This long-term research resulted in her book Liberalization, Hindu Nationalism and the State: A Biography of Gujarat (Oxford University Press, 2012), which was widely reviewed.

More recently, Professor Sud studied the socially entangled life of land. In research conducted over more than a decade in west, east and south India, she explored ideas and theories of land. The latter were put in conversation with processes of land-making in relation to state-, politics- and market-making. Alongside a number of publications in geography, environment, development studies, and Agrarian studies journals, this research is encapsulated in the monograph The Making of Land and The Making of India (Oxford University Press, 2021).

In future research, Professor Sud intends to delve into development theory, especially the changing meanings of the Global South. She is also initiating comparative research on the intersections of modernity, democracy and anti-democracy in contexts of environmental destruction and global climate change. An iteration of this work on ‘authoritarian environments’ is available in her 2022 article for the Journal of Contemporary Asia.


  • India's politics, political ecology and development
  • Gujarat: its economy, politics, development, Chief Minister Narendra Modi (2001-2014)
  • Land markets and land liberalisation in Gujarat, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and India more broadly
  • Land grab: politics, economics and environmental implications in India and globally
  • Development ideas, policy and NGOs
  • Self Help Groups and women's empowerment
  • The BJP and Hindu nationalism in India
  • Political authoritarianism and links to climate change

Media experience

Professor Nikita Sud has considerable media experience, including television (Al Jazeera, BBC World Service, TRT World) and radio (BBC Radio 4, Radio France, Radio Ö1 of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation).

Also, online media (e.g. The Conversation, Thomson Reuters Place, Mongabay, The,, NDTV, East Asia Forum, openDemocracy) and print (e.g. The Indian Express, The Tribune).

Her first job was as a radio presenter for Yuv Vani; a youth radio station of All India Radio.


English, Hindi (both fluent), Gujarati (basic), Punjabi (basic)