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Photo of Bedi, Tarini

Tarini Bedi, PhD


Anthropology, Sociocultural


Building & Room:

BSB 2110C


1007 W. Harrison Street

Office Phone:

(312) 413-3583


CV Download:



I am an economic, political, and urban anthropologist who conducts research in South Asia and more recently in Southeast Asia.  My research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of urban and political anthropology, anthropology of infrastructure, roads, and mobilities, cultural geography, and gender studies. My first book, The Dashing Ladies of Shiv Sena: Political Matronage in Urbanizing India (2016, SUNY Press) develops a feminist theory of brokerage politics. It is particularly interested in the expressive, masculinized, and visual forms of politics utilized by low- level women politicians in Western India.

My second book, (Auto)Biographies and (Auto) Mobilities: Roads, Labor and Kinship in Mumbai’s Taxi Trade is under contract and forthcoming with the University of Washington's Global South Asia Series.  This book provides some perspective on Indian automobility and its making of lives, roads and kin relations through the 20th century and into the present.

I am currently completing my third manuscript, tentatively entitled, Globalization, Platforms, and the Affective Labor of Motoring Men looks at the connections between masculine embodiment, bodily debilitation, technology and driving in India and Singapore.

I am also beginning a new project that explores connections between religious mobilities, road transport, and pilgrimage in South Asia.

My current fieldwork and research have been generously supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, The National Science Foundation’s Cultural Anthropology Program, and the American Institute of Indian Studies.

I welcome inquiries from graduate students with related research interests.

Selected Grants

National Science Foundation, Cultural Anthropology Senior Research Award for "Labor webs and the Transformation of Local Transportation Infrastructures," 2019-2021, Principal Investigator

Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Post-PhD Research Grant in Socio-Cultural Anthropology for “Everyday Technologies of the Urban: Motoring and Mobilities in Bombay/Mumbai’s Taxi Trade.” (2016-2018), Principal Investigator

Social Science Research Council, Transregional Postdoctoral Fellowship (2013), Finalist; Principal Investigator

American Institute of Indian Studies, Senior Research Fellowship, “Taxi Drivers and Urban Change: Local Histories of Place in Mumbai’s Pathanwadi.” (2010-11), Principal Investigator

American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), Junior Dissertation Research Fellowship (National competitive fellowship for dissertation research in India) (2005-2006), Principal Investigator

Selected Publications


(Auto)Biographies and (Auto) Mobilities: Roads, Labor and Kinship in Mumbai’s Taxi Trade (Under contract/Forthcoming) University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA

The Dashing Ladies of  Shiv Sena: Political Matronage in Urbanizing India (2016). SUNY Series in Hindu Studies. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. (Also published in India as The Dashing Ladies of Shiv Sena: Political Matronage in Urbanizing India (2016). New Delhi, India: Aleph Book Company)

Forthcoming Thinking Through Urban Obsolescence: The Embodied Work of Tinkering and Repair in 20th Century Bombay/Mumbai’s Taxi Trade International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR)

2018   Comment on Atreyee Sen’s “Security and Purity: Female Surveillance, Child Vigilantism, and the Moral Policing of Deviant Women in Two Radicalised Indian Slums. Current Anthropology 59(5):560-61.

2018   Urban Histories of Place and Labour: The Chillia Taximen of Mumbai. Modern Asian Studies 52(5): 1604-1638

2017   Histories of Transport Labor, Modes of Circulation and Mobile Subjects in South Asia. Mobility in History 8:97-107.

2016   Taxi Drivers, Infrastructures and Urban Change in Globalizing Mumbai. City & Society 28(3): 387-410.

2016   Journeys and their Afterlives Anthropology and Humanism 41(2): 196-205.

2016   “Network not Paperwork:” Political Parties, the Malkin, and Political Matronage in Western India. Politics and Gender 12(1):107-142.

Professional Leadership

Member of the Board of Trustees, American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS)

Member of the Executive Committee, International Association for the History of Traffic, Transport, and Mobility


PhD Anthropology, University of Illinois at Chicago
MA Anthropology, University of Illinois at Chicago
MA Political Science, McGill University
BA Social Sciences and Theater, Bennington College
FYBA, St. Xaviers College, Mumbai, India

Selected Presentations

Selected Invited Scholarly Presentations and Lectures

2019 Keynote Speaker and Distinguished Lecturer, Women in Asia Conference, University of New South Wales, Australia (June 21-23)

2019   South Asia Center, Duke University, Manly Matters, The Embodied Labors of Driving in Bombay (May 3-4)

2018   South Asia Center, Syracuse University, The Cultural Life of Motoring: (Auto) Biographies of the Taxi Trade in Mumbai (November 6)

2018   South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg, Germany, Female Religious Agency, Hindu Women and Public Politics (July 2-3)

2017   South Asia Annual Conference Pre-Conference, Madison Wisconsin Invited participant on Thinking with India: Comparative and Theoretical Perspectives on Politics, Democracy, and Representation (October 26)

2017   University of Chicago, Materials in Focus: Working Across Media and Methods: 14th Annual South Asia Graduate Student Conference, Roundtable on Materiality and the Archive (February 24)

2017 The Logistical City Workshop, UIC Institute for Humanities/UIC School of Architecture  Roads, Cross-Roads and Frictions: The Mumbai Taxi Trade in an Age of UBER (February 7)

Press Coverage and Blogs

Mobility in History Blog, October 9, 2017,  Capsule: Transport Labour, Modes of Circulation and Mobile Subjects in South Asia

Mobility in History Blog, November 20, 2017, Embedded Economies of Non-Consent: The Chillia Taximen of Mumbai, India Today, February 3, 2017, The Sena Tigress

Sunday Mid-Day News, October 23, 2016, Roar of the Tigress: Meet Shiv Sena's 'Dashing ' and 'Darin' Warrior Women

The Indian Express, December 17, 2016,   Women at Work, Adjust Please

The Times of India Literary Festival, December 4, 2016, Writers Block: Authors Give their Antidotes  The Times of India Literary Festival, December 3, 2016: Political Matronage: The Dons and Cons of Mumbai.

She The People TV, November 2, 2016, The Dashing Ladies of the Shiv Sena

UIC Today, October 13, 2015, What Drives Taxi Trade in Mumbai

Mid-Day/PBS, Ocotber 23, 2013, In the Name of the Goddess,

The University of Chicago's International and Area Studies Multimedia Outreach Source, January 14, 2009, Terror in Mumbai, Reflections on the Aftermath