Sophia Abbas

Academic Year: 
From Yale
Exchange Partners: 
National University of Singapore
Project Title: 
Tracing the Life of land: Land disputes and Urban Planning in the National Capital Region of India

Sophia Abbas is a PhD candidate in Socio-Cultural Anthropology whose dissertation is an ethnographic study of land disputes and the urban land planning Bureaucracy in the National Capital Region of India. In this rapidly urbanizing landscape of South Asia, her project explores how conflicts over land circulate along with files, state planners,  master plans,  money and mapping technologies within these planning offices and the multiple relations that mediate such circulation. Likewise her project also documents the anxieties and aspirations of actors whose land serves as the site of these urban planning interventions and the different visions they articulate about urban futures. Based on over 19 months of ethnographic fieldwork, her dissertation attempts to outline how planners, residents and various other actors work in ongoing tension, conflict, and dialogue to draft, make and maintain the city. Sophia’s broader areas of interest include Urban studies, political and cultural geography, the Anthropology of Planning and the Anthropology of Aspirations. Prior to her time at NUS as a fox fellow, Sophia was also a visiting scholar at the department of Geography at the University College London.