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Tanvi Bhatkal

Tanvi Bhatkal

PhD Candidate, Department of Geography


My research examines evolving notions of urban belonging and citizenship in India at the intersection of gendered and minority rights. More broadly, I am interested in urban cultural politics of cities in the global South, with a focus on India, and the co-constitutions of urban social, political and spatial relations.


  • 2016 - present: PhD Candidate, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2014 - 2016: Senior Research Officer, Growth, Poverty and Inequality, Overseas Development Institute (London, UK)
  • 2012 - 2014: Economist, Research and Advocacy, IDFC Foundation (Mumbai, India)

Academic qualifications

  • 2016 - Present: PhD Candidate, Geography. University of Cambridge
  • 2011 - 2012: MSc Economics for Development. University of Oxford
  • 2008 - 2011: BA Economics (First), Honours in Economics and Political Science. St. Xavier's College, University of Mumbai

Other training

  • 2018: IIHS PhD Workshop, Bangalore
  • 2017: RC21-FURS-IJURR Summer School in Comparative Urban Studies, London/Leeds
  • 2015: Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative Summer School on Multidimensional Poverty Analysis, Georgetown University

Research funding

  • IJURR Foundation Studentship (2018)
  • Phillip Lake II (2017, 2018, 2019)
  • Smuts Travel Grant (2017)
  • Mary Euphrasia Mosley Travel Fund (2017)
  • University Fieldwork Fund Travel Grant (2017)


The research examines evolving notions of urban belonging and citizenship in India at the intersection of gendered and minority rights. It explores everyday gendered negotiations of urban space in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region over a period of socio-spatial-political change. I explore two inter-related areas: First, everyday gendered contestations of public space to understand evolving social relations and constructions of identity and community. Although women perceive and negotiate cities differently from men, urban planning and governance often assumes they have the same needs, thereby reflecting and reproducing unequal gender relations. My research thus examines the socio-spatial relations of gendered urban space. Second, the research investigates the relationship between the segregated neighbourhood and the city. This explores how urban belonging is negotiated in and from the segregated neighbourhood and related intersectional contestations of citizenship. Through a multi-scalar approach and intra-urban comparison, the thesis uses qualitative data collected over ten months of fieldwork to examine experiences of urban space and infrastructure, and their underlying politics based on multiple power structures relate to socio-political relations and everyday negotiations of urban socio-spatial belonging. I employ an intersectional approach to understand how multiple identities shape access to urban space and infrastructure as well as related processes of identity formation and their political manifestations.

My broad research interests include: critical urban studies; feminist geography; post-colonial theory; cities of the Global South.



  • Lucci, P., Bhatkal, T., Khan, A. (2018) 'Are we underestimating urban poverty?' World Development

Conference presentations

  • Evolving notions of belonging and inclusion in Mumbai, RC21 Conference of the ISA. New Delhi, September 2019
  • Taking space and making space: Evolving notions of belonging in Mumbai, Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference. London, August 2019
  • Navigating modernity and marginality: gender, identity and public spaces in Mumbai, British Association for South Asian Studies Annual Conference. Durham, April 2019
  • Women and 'public' spaces: Modernity within bounds in Mumbai, European Conference on South Asian Studies. Paris, July 2018
  • Making cities work for women: negotiating gender-inclusive urban planning in India, RC21 of the International Sociological Association Conference. Leeds, September 2017
  • Expert workshop on Sex-disaggregated data for the SDG indicators in Asia and the Pacific: What and how?, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Bangkok, May 2016


  • Geographical Tripos
    • Part IA, Contemporary Urban Geographies (Supervisor; MT 2018, LT 2019)
    • Part IA, Statistics (Demonstrator; MT 2018)
    • Part II, Geographies of Global Urbanism (Supervisor; MT 2018)
  • Social Sciences Research Methods Centre
    • Foundations in Applied Statistics (Demonstrator; MT 2018, MT+LT 2019, LT 2020)
    • Basic Quantitative Analysis (Demonstrator; MT+LT 2019, LT 2020)

External activities

Other responsibilities

  • Co-convener of the Infrastructural Geographies Research Group 2018-19
  • Co-convener of City Seminar 2018-19
  • Convenor of Visual Infrastructures Film Series, Department of Geography 2018-19


  • Millicent Fawcett Workshop, Newnham College (Contributor; 2018)
  • Sutton Trust Summer School (Contributor; 2018)
  • Cambridge Insight (Contributor; 2017)
  • Experience Cambridge (Co-convenor; 2017)