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Saba Sharma

Saba Sharma

PhD Student

My research focusses on experiences of the state and their relationship to ethnic conflict. I look at how practices of governance and policy affect the way different groups interact with the state and each other.



  • January 2012-June 2015, Research Associate and Project Coordinator, Centre for Equity Studies (New Delhi; Assam)
  • November 2011-September 2012, Freelance Copy Editor, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group (New Delhi)


  • PhD candidate, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, 2015-Present
  • MSc Social and Cultural Anthropology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 2009-11
  • BA (Honours) Economics, University of Delhi (Sri Ram College of Commerce), 2006-09

Funding and awards

  • Smuts Memorial Fund Research Grant (2016)
  • Hughes Hall Travel Grant (2016)
  • University Fieldwork Fund Award, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge (2016)
  • Gates Cambridge Trust Scholarship (2015-18)
  • Erasmus Mundus (EMECW) Scholarship (2009-11)


The Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) in Assam, in Northeastern India, have seen multiple instances of ethnic violence since the late 1980s. While the Bodos, a tribal group considered indigenous to the area, enjoy a degree of self-governance, the region is very ethnically diverse, and tensions between different groups often result in violence. My project will look at how practices of the state have shaped the way different groups have interacted with each other, and the state. I would like to examine how the state is experienced in Northeast India, which remains a region of the country that is under-studied in scholarship, and features on the peripheries of the national imaginary. To this extent, I hope that my research findings, about everyday practices of the state and their relationship to conflict, will help to ground some of these narratives within the larger narrative of state and nationalism in India. By studying this aspect of state practice, I hope to draw links and parallels between concepts of state and citizenship in Assam, and similar ideas as they operate in other parts of India.


Selected publications

  • Barbora, S. and Sharma, S., 2016. Survivors of Ethnic Conflict. India Exclusion Report 2015-16. New Delhi: Yoda Press.
  • Sharma, S., 2013. Watching Indian Cinema in South Africa. Sarai Reader 09: Projections. New Delhi: Centre for Study of Developing Societies.

External activities

  • Member, British Association of South Asian Studies, 2015-16
  • Member, Royal Geographical Society, 2015-16