Ravinder Kaur is a historian of contemporary India. She is Associate Professor of Modern South Asian Studies at the University of Copenhagen.
Her core research focuses on the processes of capitalist transformations in twenty-first-century India. This is the subject of her most recent book Brand New Nation: Capitalist Dreams and Nationalist Designs in Twenty-First-Century India (2020). Tracing the long history of the economic reforms, the book delves into the yet ongoing transformation of the postcolonial nation into an ‘attractive investment destination’, and the attendant rise of investment-fuelled cultural nationalism.
Her ethnographic focus is broadly on decolonization, state formation, and the making of modern citizenship, which is the focus of her first book Since 1947: Partition Narratives among Punjabi Migrants of Delhi (2007, 2018). The book draws attention to the government of humanitarian crisis – of displacement, the loss of home and livelihood – and the making of the modern nation and its citizenry along the intersection of caste, class and gender.
She is currently engaged in a monograph project based on her long-term research on emerging markets and the ongoing capitalist transformations in the global south. Tentatively entitled The Great Frontier Game: How the Search for “Economic Miracles” is Re-Shaping the World,, this research delves into the yet unwritten global history of “economic miracles,” an idea which discloses counterintuitive connections between seemingly separate spheres of human life – of the national economy and historical memory, economic growth and cultural imaginaries – as well as entanglements between the global south and the north. Grounded in the speculative boom of BRICS nations or emerging markets as the millennial economic miracles in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the project examines how the new taxonomy of economic frontiers – of resources and labour – is produced in a world conceived as a commodity. It traces how resources are accessed, captured, and integrated into the circuits of global capital. It examines what work economic success or failure performs in the realm of national recovery and renewal in the old third world.