Associate Professor of Digital South Asian Studies appointed

OSGA and the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) have appointed Dr Janaki Srinivasan to a joint post as Associate Professor in Digital South Asian Studies.

Dr Srinivasan – who also becomes a member of the Governing Body of St Antony's College - will engage in advanced research and teaching exploring digital technology and society in South Asian countries.

In her work, she examines the political economy of information technology-based development initiatives. Her research shows how gender, class and caste shape Indian digital inclusion initiatives, focussed on community computer centres, mobile phones, identity systems and open information systems. Her current interests include digital labour, privacy, algorithmic control and the role of intermediaries in digital transactions. She is also a Co-Investigator for the Fairwork project in India, where she is involved with developing and implementing the research and fieldwork strategies to study the working conditions of digital platform-based gig workers in India.

Recent co-authored papers include, 'Seeing data like a state: A case of Open Government Data in India’s livelihoods program,' which draws on work by her former doctoral student to explore the democratic impact of Open Government Data initiatives on Indian citizens in their daily lives, whilst her 2022 book, The Political Lives of Information: Information and the Making of Development in India, examines how the idea of information has reshaped development practice and discourse in the country.

Professor Paul Chaisty, Head of School, welcomed Dr Srinivasan’s appointment, saying, ‘The appointment of Professor Srinivasan opens up new and exciting areas of research within OSGA. This is the first appointment between OSGA and OII, and Professor Srinivasan’s innovative research will enrich the disciplinary perspectives that the School offers students of South Asian Studies. We look forward to her joining the School.’

Dr Vicki Nash, Director, Associate Professor and Senior Policy Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford said, 'I’m delighted to appoint Janaki Srinivasan as Associate Professor of Digital South Asian Studies at the OII.  Prof. Srinavasan brings with her a wealth of experience in studying diverse information cultures and power structures in the Global South, which will deepen our knowledge and understanding in this important field of study.  We look forward to her joining the OII in Michaelmas term.'

Dr Srinivasan said: 'I’m excited to join the OII and the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, both widely respected institutions that lead the academic debate in their respective fields. I look forward to further developing my research and understanding of how digital technologies are reconfiguring South Asian countries with my new colleagues at both departments, as well as the wider university. Since  my research is concerned with understanding how power relations shape the design and use of digital technologies, thinking through my own privilege has also been an integral part of my work, and I hope to continue weaving that thread into my work as I move forward.'

She joins from the International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore (IIITB), where she is currently Associate Professor, with previous research positions at Virginia Tech and UC Berkeley.  She has a PhD in Information Management and Systems from UC Berkeley and Masters degrees in Physics and Information Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and IIIT Bangalore.

Professor Nandini Gooptu, Acting Warden, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, commented: 'We are delighted to welcome Janaki Srinivasan to St Antony’s College. Her expertise on the politics of digital and information technology-based development will open up a new area of research in the College and very much enrich the work of the Asian Studies Centre. Her appointment also marks an exciting new association of the College with OII, while it further strengthens our links with the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA).' 

Dr Srinivasan will take up her post in October 2024.