Trained as a cultural anthropologist, Purnima Mankekar has conducted interdisciplinary research on television, film, and digital media, and on publics/public cultures with a focus on the politics of affect. She is 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). Her new ethnographic project is on the sociopolitical implications of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in India.
Her teaching interests include digital and “virtual” anthropology; theories of affect; feminist anthropology and ethnography; postcolonial and women of color feminism; anthropological approaches to sexuality, queer theory, and queer of color critique; and Asian American and South Asian Studies.
She is the author of Screening Culture, Viewing Politics (Duke; 1999) and Unsettling India: Affect, Temporality, Transnationality (2015; Duke 2015). 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 been awarded a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Duke University (1997-98); a Bunting Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, 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).
Digital media studies, Big Data, IT, algorithms in social life; “Virtual” Anthropology; Theories of Affect; Film and Television Studies; Feminist Anthropology and Ethnography; Postcolonial and Women of Color feminism; Queer of Color Critique. South Asian America, South Asia
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
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