UCLA » College » Social Sciences » Anthropology

Purnima Mankekar


Contact Information

Email    mankekar@ucla.edu
Office  374 Haines

Trained as a cultural anthropologist, Purnima Mankekar has conducted interdisciplinary research on media and publics/public cultures with a focus on the politics of affect. She is currently completing a book on affective labor and the production of futurities in the Business Process Outsourcing industry in Bengaluru, India titled Future Tense: Affective Labor and Disjunctive Temporalities (co-authored with Akhil Gupta).

She is the initiator and convener of an international and interdisciplinary consortium of scholars working on a collective project, Publics on Edge, that seeks to examine how transnational regimes of affect shape politics in Asia, Australia, and Europe. Her first book, Screening Culture, Viewing Politics (Duke; 1999) examined the role of state-run television in the affective construction of “Indian Womanhood.” Her most recent book, Unsettling India: Affect, Temporality, Transnationality (2015; Duke 2015) was on how transnational public cultures constitute India as an archive of affect and temporality.

Her co-edited books include Caste and Outcast (co-edited with Gordon Chang and Akhil Gupta; Stanford University Press; 2002) and Media, Erotics, and Transnational Asia (co-edited with Louisa Schein; Duke; 2013). She has received numerous awards and fellowships for her research including a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Duke University (1997-98), a Bunting Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University (2000-01), a Stanford University Humanities Center fellowship (2005-06), and was a senior research fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore (2013).  


Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Washington, 1993


  • Fullbright Senior Faculty Research Award for research on call centers in Bangalore, India, 2008-2009
  • Distinguished Faculty Award, Asian American Studies, Stanford University, 2002
  • Bunting Fellowship, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, 2000-2001

Selected Publications

Books and Special Issues of Journals

Transnational Erotics: Media and the Production of "Asia." Edited by volume with Louisa Schein. Duke University Press, 2012

Mediated Transnationalisms and Social Erotics. Special Issue of Journal of Asian Studies. Co-edited with Louisa Schein, 2004

Caste and Outrcast by Dhan Gopal Mukherji. Co-edited with Gordon Chang and Akhil Gupta. Standford University Press, 2002

Screening Culture, Viewing Politics: An Ethnography of Television, Womanhood, and Nation in Postcolonial India. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1999


Feminist media studies; post-9/11 public cultures; affect thoeries; outsourcing and information technology; transnational cultural studies; South Asian America; South Asia