Sapana Doshi

About Sapana Doshi

I am an Associate Professor at the School of Geography and Development and a Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Gender and Women's StudiesMy work on urban social movements explores the nexus of cultural politics and political economy in cities of the Global South and traverses the fields of critical development studies, feminist political geography and urban geography. I teach undergraduate courses and graduate seminars in the School of Geography and Development as well as courses for UA's new Masters in Development Practice.

Personal website


Areas of Study

Critical Development Studies, Urban Geography, Feminist Geography, Cities of the Global South, Social Movements, State Theory, Ethnography

Research Interests

My current research is on the politics of global city redevelopment, eviction and resettlement in Mumbai, India with a focus on social mobilization among displaced residents of informal slum settlements. Using ethnographic and other qualitative methods, my work examines the political economic and cultural processes through which urban transformation is both enabled and contested. I investigate how class, gender and ethnic differences shape experiences of dispossession in the changing city and yield distinct spatio-political subjectivities. 

Recently I have started a new collaborative research project (with Dr. Malini Ranganathan and Dr. David Pike of American University) that explores narratives of corruption as a lens into the experience, contested ethics and political critique of rapid change in cities of the Global South. This project titled, Corruption Plots, Imagined Publics: The Ethics of Space in the Millennial City combines social science methods of ethnography and humanistic analysis of films, novels and other creative work from cities around the world. The project is supported by an American Council of Learned Societies grant

Prior to entering academia, I spent six years working as a development practitioner in non-governmental organizations in Brazil, Nepal and the U.S. My areas of work included micro-finance, gender-based empowerment, rural drought relief, urban housing and sustainability. I have also been involved in performance, awareness-raising and rights campaigns with feminist and LGBT groups in South Asian-American communities. These experiences both within and outside of academia have deeply influenced my scholarship, teaching and worldview. I have also researched and written on the history of urban water infrastructure development, imperial racial politics and colonial state formation in 19th century Mumbai.

See my personal website for more details on my research and teaching.

Selected Publications

Doshi S and Ranganathan M (2018) Towards a critical geography of corruption and power in late capitalism. Progress in Human Geography [PDF]

Doshi S  (2018) The redevelopmental state: Spaces of inclusion, rule and dispossession in the ‘Urban Age’ Development and Change [PDF]

Doshi S and Ranganathan M (2017) Contesting the unethical city: Land dispossession and corruption narratives in urban India. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 107(1): 183–199.  [PDF]

Doshi S (2017) Embodied urban political ecology: five propositions. Area 49(1): 125–128.  [PDF]

Doshi S (2013) The Politics of the Evicted: Redevelopment, Subjectivity, and Difference in Mumbai’s Slum Frontier. Antipode 45(4): 844–865. [PDF] A video abstract of this article is also featured on the Antipode Foundation website.

Doshi S (2015) Rethinking gentrification in India: displacement, dispossession and the spectre of development. In: Lees L, Shin HB, and López-Morales E (eds), Global gentrifications: uneven development and displacement, Bristol, UK: Policy Press, pp. 101–120. PDF

Doshi, S (2014) Imperial water, urban crisis: A political ecology of colonial state formation in Bombay, 1850-1890 Review: Journal of the Fernand Braudel Center 37(3/4): 173-218 [PDF]

Casolo J and Doshi S (2013) Domesticated Dispossessions? Towards a Transnational Feminist Geopolitics of Development. Geopolitics 18(4): 800–834. (equally co-authored) [PDF]

Doshi S (2013) Resettlement ecologies: Environmental subjectivity and graduated citizenship in Mumbai. In: Rademacher A and Sivaramakrishnan K (eds), Ecologies of Urbanism in India: Metropolitan Civility and Sustainability, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, pp. 225–248.  [PDF]

Doshi S (2012) The politics of persuasion: Gendered slum citizenship in neoliberal Mumbai. In: Desai R and Sanyal R (eds), Urbanising Citizenship: Perspectives on Contested Spaces in Indian Cities, New Delhi: Sage, pp. 82–108.[PDF]


Blogs and reviews

Ranganathan M and Doshi S (2017) The Color of Corruption: Whiteness and Populist Narratives. Society & Space. Available from: (accessed 12 April 2017).

“Introduction: Book Review Forum for Akhil Gupta’s Red Tape: Bureaucracy, Structural Violence, and Poverty in India” in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (online open site)

“Review of Akhil Gupta’s Red Tape: Bureaucracy, Structural Violence, and Poverty in India” in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (online open site)

Sapana Doshi's picture

Contact Information

Sapana Doshi
Associate Professor
Telephone: 520-626-8107
Office: ENR2 S422


PhD (2011) Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley

B.A. (1997) Department of Economics, Barnard College, Columbia University

Courses Taught

DVP 601 Social Science Perspectives on Development Practice: Themes, Theories and Strategies

DVP 602 The Role of Culture in Sustainable Development

Geog 370 Geographies of International Development: Poverty, Development and Social Change in a Globalizing World

Geog 372 Gender and Geography: Space, Power and Difference in Transnational Perspective

Geog 696 Political Geography (Political Geographies of Development)