Department of Anthropology

Balmurli Natrajan

Office:   5018 Science Hall East, 300 Pompton Road
Phone:   (973) 720-3869
Office Hours:   M&R 2-5 p.m. and by appt. (Spring 2013)

Department: Anthropology
Position: Associate Professor and Chair
Area Specialization: Group Formation & Collective Action (Caste, Class), Globalization & Development (Artisans, Agriculutralists, State), Culture, Learning & Cognition, South Asia, India


Ph.D. University of Iowa (Anthropology)

M.S.  Southern Polytechnic State University, Atlanta (Computer Science)

M.A. Iowa State University (Anthropology)

B.E.  Marine Engineering Research Institute, Kolkata (Marine Engineering)


  • Global Transformations and the Human Condition (see Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct 21, 2011, )
  • Origins and Diversity of Humanity (myths of race, sex, violence and culture)
  • Understanding Culture (course on ethnography)
  • Blood and Belonging (course on Kinship and Group Formation)
  • Learning, Knowledge and Culture (course under development)
  • Comparative Social Differentiation and Inequality (course under development)
  • Anthropology of Development
  • Theoretical Dimensions in Cultural Anthropology
  • Peoples and Cultures of South Asia / Popular Culture and Modernity in South Asia
  • Introduction to Asian Studies / Introduction to Civilizations of South Asia


Selected Publications




2013  “Punctuated Solidarities: Caste and Left Politics,” Economic and Political Weekly XLVIII no. 6, 16-19

2012  “From Jati to Samaj” Seminar (Delhi, India) v. 633: 54-57

2012  "The Problem of ‘Difference’ in Discourses of Civilization and Culture,” in The         Concept of Humanity in the age of Globalization, Zhang, Longxi (ed.). Göttingen: V&R           Unipress. Pp. 67-82.

2012 “‘Practicing Hindus,’ Hindutva and Multiculturalism” in Public Hinduisms, eds.         Pralay Kanungo, Deepa Reddy, Maya Warrior, John Zavos and Raymond Williams.             New Delhi: Sage. Pp. 160-168.

2010 “Learning Caste: Banal and Brutal” in Caste in Life: Experiencing Inequalities,               edited by D.S.Babu and R.S.Khare. Pearson Education. Pp. 33-43

2009 “Place and Pathology in Caste” Economic and Political Weekly Vol.XLIV, No. 51,           December 19, 2009, pp. 79-82

2009  “Indian Electoral Democracy: The Only Game in Town” Economic and Political             Weekly Vol. XLIV No. 29, July 18, 2009, pp. 14-17

2009 “Introduction” (with Paul Greenough), in Against Stigma, pp. 1-44

2009  “Essentially Polluted: Untouchability, Caste and Diversity,” in Against Stigma, pp.         298 - 325

2008  “Cultural Values” in Encyclopedia of Social Problems, ed. Vincent Parrillo. Sage Publications. Pp. 193-196

2007  “Misrepresenting Caste and Race” Seminar April 2007, no.572:65-66

2005  "Caste, Class and Community in India: An Ethnographic Approach." Ethnology 44(3): 227-241