The study of communication rests on a paradox. The 20th century was the most intensely mediated period of history, with technologies of communication being used to influence events on an unprecedented scale. Yet we do not have a history of communication that clarifies the nature of that influence. The concept has in fact been treated as a philosophical idea rather than as an historical term subject to contextual analysis. In my current work, I seek to understand the shifting stakes over time in the global project of universalizing communication as a value.
My books include Politics After Television: Hindu Nationalism and the Reshaping of the Public in India (Cambridge, 2001), which won the Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Prize from the Association of Asian Studies and the Daniel Griffiths Prize at NYU, both in 2003, The Indian Public Sphere: Structure and Transformation (Oxford, 2009), and Media and Utopia (with Anupama Rao, Routledge, 2016).
I am the recipient of awards from the MacArthur and Rockefeller Foundations, and held fellowships at the centers for Advanced Study in Helsinki, Princeton, and Stanford, and also at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC. In addition to my scholarly writing, I publish in forums such the SSRC’s Immanent Frame and opendemocracy.net, and in newspapers and periodicals. I teach media studies at NYU, and am affiliated faculty in the departments of Sociology, and Social and Cultural Analysis.