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Department of Geography


Debolina Majumder, BA (Hons.), MA

PhD Candidate, Department of Geography and King’s College



  • (2017 –) PhD Candidate, Geography, University of Cambridge
  • (2017) MA, Geography, University of British Columbia
  • (2014) BA (Hons.), History with International Relations, University of British Columbia

Funding and awards

  • (2020-21) Doctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Government of Canada
  • (2020) Graduate Travel Grant, King’s College, University of Cambridge
  • (2019) Phillip Lake II Fund, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • (June and November 2018) University Fieldwork Fund, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • (2017 – 20) Smuts Cambridge International Scholarship, Cambridge Trust, University of Cambridge
  • (2015 – 16) Graduate Student Travel Grant, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia
  • (2015) Faculty of Arts Graduate Award, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia
  • (2014 – 15) Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Master’s Scholarship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Government of Canada


Situated at the intersection of urban and working-class/labour geographies, my PhD research project grapples with the transitory but recurring urban landscapes within which circulatory construction workers continue to work and live in Delhi. I ask how the transience and informality of circulatory construction labour (and work) is reproduced in and through urban space. Through a mixed-methods approach, involving archival research in India and the UK, participant observation, and life-narrative interviewing, I study how particular forms of labour segmentation, divisions of labour, and precarity amongst workers in the construction industry have been reproduced by three types of ephemeral urban spaces: building sites, day-labour markets (labour chawks), and labour colonies (bastis / jhuggi-jhonpri settlements).

My general research interests include urban geography, working-class geography, labour history, geographies of development, and infrastructural development, geopolitical economy, Marxist state theory, borders and migration.


Presentations (selected)

  • (Forthcoming) Majumder, D. 2021. “Ephemeral urbanism” revisited: Internal labour migration and a class-analysis of urban landscape formation in Indian megacities”. Dislocating Urban Studies: Rethinking Theory, Shifting Practice Workshop Series. Institute of Urban Research, Malmo University and University of Helsinki. May 17-18th. Online.
  • (Forthcoming) Majumder, D. 2021. ‘Construction Lives: Labour and the City in 20th Century Delhi.’ XIII International Conference on Labour History: Mapping Lives of Labour. V. V. Giri National Labour Institute. Noida, India. May 2021.
  • (Forthcoming) Majumder, D. 2021. ‘Disrupting the formal urban and labour archive: Life-histories of internally migrant construction workers in Delhi,’ Migration Methodologies: Challenges, Innovations and Conceptual Implications for Asian Migrations. Asia Research Institute. National University of Singapore. Singapore.
  • Majumder, D. 2021. “Labour Geography and the Urban Question? Informality and Construction work in Delhi”. American Association of Geographers (AAG) 2021 Annual Meeting, Seattle. April 7-11. Online.
  • Majumder, D. 2020. ‘Constructing the world-city: decent work & precarious migrant working lives in Delhi NCT” Future of Work Symposium. Decent Work and Youth Livelihoods Research Working Group. Department of Geography. University of Cambridge. December 10. Online.
  • Majumder, D. 2019. ‘Yeh toh aam baat hai [This is common-sense]: migrant construction workers, informality and the right to the city in Delhi,’ 16th Annual Historical Materialism London Conference. School of Oriental and African Studies, November 7-10. London, UK.
  • Majumder D. 2018. ‘On the material lives of security: state-formation and liberalisation in India and Kashmir.’ Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS) South Asia Workshop Series. University of Cambridge, May 22. Cambridge, UK.
  • Majumder, D. 2016. “Labour under militarisation: state, space and society in Indian-administered Kashmir”. American Association of Geographers (AAG) 2016 Annual Meeting. March 29 -April 2. San Francisco, CA.
  • Majumder, D. 2015. “Theorising geopolitical economy through the selected writings of Bob Jessop”. Geopolitical Economies of Development and Democratization in East Asia. Peter Wall Institute International Roundtable. University of British Columbia, May 25-28. Vancouver, BC.

Paper session organiser

  • Majumder, D. 2021. ‘Labour Geography I & II: Doing labour geography ‘beyond the core’: theories, methods, ontologies. American Association of Geographers (AAG) 2021 Annual Meeting, Seattle. April 7-11. Online.

Book reviews


University College London, Department of Geography (Jan 2021 – Mar 2021):

  • Postgraduate Teaching Assistant for GEOG 0150 “Space and Society.” Modules: Bordering and ordering, racialization and territorial marginalization, human-non-human connections, geographies of responsibility

University of Cambridge, Department of Geography (2019-)

  • Supervisor for Part II: Global Urbanism (October 2019-November 2019) Topic: Challenges in Urban Theorising.
  • Supervisor for Part IB: Citizenship, Cities and Civil Society (February) Topic: Geographies of Homelessness.

University of British Columbia, Department of Geography (2014-16)

  • Teaching Assistant for GEOG 364 “Globalisation, Cities & Regions”
  • Teaching Assistant for GEOG 352 “Urbanisation in the Global South”
  • Teaching Assistant for GEOG 371 “Research Strategies in Human Geography”
  • Teaching Assistant for GEOG 122 “Geography, Modernity and Globalisation II”

External activities

  • (2020) Reviewer for Annals of the American Association of Geographers
  • (2019) Geography Undergraduate Admissions Interviewer – King’s College, Cambridge
  • (2016, 2019 -) American Association of Geographers
  • (2019 – 2020) Student Convener, Infrastructural Geographies research group
  • (2019 – 2020) Co-convener, City Seminar
  • (2018 –2019) Member, Urbanism in the Global South Working Group
  • (2014 – 2015) – Research Assistant, Peter Wall International Research Roundtable: Geopolitical Economies of Development and Democratisation in East Asia.