I study and teach on topics such as popular sovereignty and political communication. My larger conceptual and ethnographic interests are in protest, political affect, development, and old and new technologies of surveillance. Bangladesh is my primary source of ethnographic insights. My first book, Paradoxes of the Popular: Crowd Politics in Bangladesh (Stanford University Press 2019)  is an anthropology of crowds, a permanent fixture in South Asian democratic life (see below for a description). My current book project explores the concept of sacrifice in relation to postcolonial development. The ethnographic focus is on the rumors of sacrifice and violence around particular development megaprojects in Bangladesh as manifestations of larger tensions that arise from legitimizing sacrifice, which is at the core of postcolonial democratic imagination.


Articles/Book Chapters

2021 "The Second Coming: The Specular and the Spectacular 50 Years On." In Südasien-Chronik/South Asia Chronicle. De|En.


2019: “The Ethics of the Digital: Crowds and Popular Justice in Bangladesh.” In Crowds: Ethnographic Encounters. Chapter 9. Edited by Megan Steffen. Bloomsbury Press. 2019.


2019. “Death, Despair and Democracy in Bangladesh.” In Emotions, Mobilisations, and South Asian Politics. Chapter 14. Edited by Amélie Blom and Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal. Routledge, India.   


2019. "The Taka, Transparency, and an Alternative Politics of Seeing From Phulbari, Bangladesh." In Neoliberal Development In Bangladesh: People on the Margins. Edited by Mohammad Tanzimuddin Khan (Editor) Mohammad Sajjadur Rahman (Editor). The University Press Limited (UPL) . Bangladesh. 


2016. “Mines and Signs: Resource and Political Futures in Bangladesh.” Special Issue on "Prognosis: Visions of Environmental Futures." Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute. Edited by Andrew Matthews and Jessica Barnes.


2014: “‘Picture-Thinking’: Sovereignty and Citizenship in Bangladesh.” Anthropological Quarterly. Fall 2014 (Volume 87, Issue 4).


2014: “Muslim Women and Violent Protest: Bangladesh.” Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures. General Editor Suad Joseph. Brill Online, 2014.


2002 “Understanding the Experience of Household Food Insecurity in Rural Bangladesh Leads to a Measure Different from That Used in Other Countries.” Co-authored with Edward Frongillo et al. Journal of Nutrition. 2003: 133, 4158-4162.


2019. Paradoxes of the Popular: Crowd Politics in Bangladesh. Stanford University Press (Series: South Asia in Motion). 

Cover of Paradoxes of the Popular by Nusrat Sabina Chowdhury

Read the Introduction here:


2021 Art, Politics, and the Environment in Bangladesh: FIfty Years On. Co-edited with Dr. Lotte Hoek (Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, University of Edinburgh). Contracted with Anthem Press, UK.

Academic Blogs

A Storm in a Teacup (American Ethnologist: Post-Covid Fantasies)



Crowd, Contagion, Corona (Cultural Anthropology)


Introduction. Figurative Publics: Crowds, protest, and democratic anxieties (The Immanent Frame, SSRC)



Book Reviews

2014: Red Tape: Bureaucracy, Structural Violence, and Poverty in India. Akhil Gupta. Journal of Anthropological Research. Vol. 70, Fall 2014.

2013: Women Suicide Bombers: Narratives of Violence. Julie Rajan. South Asian Popular Culture. 2013.

2012: In the Shadows of the State: Indigenous Politics, Environmentalism, and Insurgency in Jharkhand, India. Alpa Shah. PoLar: The Political and Legal Anthropology Review. Spring 2012 (Vol. 35, Issue 1).


2008: “Pashcimer Najare: Naribadi Chinta o Ouponibeshik Discourse.” Bengali translation of “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Thought and Colonial Discourse” by Chandra Talpade Mohanty. In Muktoshwar. No. 2. Year 1. Samhati Publication. Dhaka, Bangladesh.