Dr. Sanam Roohi


Alumnus (Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien)


Universität Erfurt
Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Postfach 90 02 21
99105 Erfurt

Dr. Sanam Roohi

Zur Person

Curriculum Vitae

  • AISSR, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    Ph.D. 2 August 2010 – 24 August 2016

    Degree granted for the thesis Giving back: Diaspora philanthropy and the transnationalisation of caste in Guntur, India, on 6 December 2016
  • Calcutta University, Kolkata, India
    M.A., Political Science, 23 August 2004 – 31 May 2006
  • Loreto College, Kolkata, India
    B.A. Political Science Honours, with History and English elective, 1 August 2001 – 30 April 2004



Transantionalising the Telangana movement: Politics of sub-regional nationalism within the diaspora

In June 2014, the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, was bifurcated into two separate states - the new state of Telangana and the truncated state of Andhra Pradesh. The bifurcation was a result of a long-standing demand for a separate state within India, with agitation peaking and waning in phases. In the last phase of this long drawn movement (particularly between 2007 – 2014), the agitation reached such frenzy that it saw a spate of suicides by young students in the Telangana region. This provided a moral legitimacy and urgency to the movement. One can argue that the last phase of the movement was also possibly one of the highly politicized, mediatized and sentimentalized one. It venerated a separate state as an almost sacrilised space, that would develop itself utilizing its resources that till then had been exploited by non-Telanganites, mostly the agrarian upper castes hailing from the other regions of the undivided state. Preliminary research suggests that the demand for a separate state during the last couple of decades also found much resonance among many ‘high skilled’, upper caste and affluent diaspora from the Telangana region domiciled particularly in the United States, but also in the Gulf countries. This regional diaspora found a common cause with their brethren ‘back home’ despite the divide of time and space, thereby stretching the movement from a localized topography, onto a transnational plane.

While some literature is available on the origin of demand for a separate state in peasant struggle in pre-Independent India, or the politics of sub-regional nationalism post independence, the transnationalisation of the movement and the role of the regional diaspora in the creation of the recently carved state of Telangana has not garnered any academic attention so far. Using multi-sited ethnography, this study will unravel the ways in which transnational migrants shaped the public perception for the creation of a separate state. Further it examines how this discourse is embedded in regional political economy, mediated by social relations, cultural values and political aspirations – all of which have perhaps played vital role in the transnationalization of the Telangana struggle. This project will attempt to untangle these connections that have made transnational mobilisation for a separate state in India a possibility. The research has far reaching implications not only in terms of its policy implications but also about emergent forms of diasporic engagements in (regional) political movements in global south.

Publikationen (Auswahl)

  • Roohi, S. 2019. Kula Gauravam, Transnational Migration and the Reconfiguration of the Dominant Caste Status in Coastal Andhra. In Sociology of the Elites in India, edited by Surinder Jodhka and Jules Naudet. Oxford University Press: New Delhi.
  • Roohi, S. et. al. 2019. Collective Discussion: Piecing Up Feminist Peace Research, International Political Sociology. 13 (1):  86-107. doi: 10.1093/ips/oly034 (equal author).
  • Roohi, S. 2019. Historicising Mobility Trajectories of High Skilled Migrants from Coastal Andhra to the US. Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics. 31(1): 24-41. doi: 10.1177/0260107918770954.       
  • Roohi, S. et. al. 2019. Everyday Care as Peacebuilding. In special issue on ‘Critical Peace and Conflict Studies: Feminist Interventions’ coedited by Laura McLoed and Maria O’Reilly Peacebuilding Journal. doi: 10.1080/21647259.2019.1588453.
  • Roohi, S. 2019. Book review of Sudeep Basu’s ‘In Diasporic Lands, Tibetan Refugees and their Transformation since Exodus’. Journal of Refugee Studies. 32 (2): 348-49.
  • Roohi, S. 2018. Efficient Donors, Meritorious Receivers: Professionalizing Transnational Philanthropy in Coastal Andhra. Modern Asian Studies, 52(1): 214-37. doi:10.1017/S0026749X17000622.
  • Roohi. S. 2018. Transnational Citizens as Partners in Development: The case of NRI Cell in Guntur, Coastal Andhra. In Provincial Globalisation in India: Transregional mobilities and development politics, edited by Carol Upadhya, Mario Rutten and Leah Koskimaki. Routledge: London.
  • Roohi. S. 2018. Book review of Carol Upadhya’s ‘Reengineering India: Work, Capital, and Class in an Offshore Economy’. Sociological Bulletin. 67(2): 247-49.
  • Roohi, S. 2017. Caste Kinship and the Realization of ‘American Dream’: Coastal Andhra Migrants in the United States. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 43(16): 2756-70. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2017.1314598.