skip to primary navigation skip to content

Saba Sharma

Saba Sharma

PhD Student

My research looks at how everyday practices of the state affect the way different ethnic groups interact with the state and each other, and in particular, how it influences articulations of citizenship.



  • 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

  • Gates Cambridge Academic Development Funding (2018)
  • Smuts Memorial Fund Research Grant (2016)
  • Hughes Hall Travel Grant (2016), Hughes Hall Travel Grant (2018)
  • University Fieldwork Fund Award, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge (2016)
  • Gates Cambridge Trust Scholarship (2015-18)
  • Erasmus Mundus (EMECW) Scholarship (2009-11)


My research is located in the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) in Assam, Northeastern India. It is a diverse region with multiple ethnic groups, as well as a semi-autonomous region governed by an indigenous group, leading to often complex political formations. In addition, the region has seen several rounds of conflict since the 1980s — between different ethnic groups, as well as between insurgent outfits and the state. My project will look at how practices of the state have shaped the way different groups have interacted with each other and the state, and how these practices have shaped the history of conflict. I look at everyday practices of the state to examine how it is experienced in Northeast India, and particularly how notions of citizenship are conceptualised, particularly the distinct ways in which they are experienced by different ethnic groups. Eventually, I hope that my research findings 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.

Conference presentations

  • "Narratives of Violence in the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts", British Association of South Asian Studies Annual Conference 2016, University of Cambridge (April 2016)
  • "Me Again, Fieldwork, Practice and How to Go Back", King's India Institute Graduate Workshop, King's College London (July 2016)
  • "Outsiders at Home: Notions of Belonging in the BTAD", Locating Northeast India: Human Mobility, Resource Flows and Spatial Linkages, Tezpur University (January 2018)
  • "By the Ballot: Making Citizens through Elections", British Association of South Asian Studies Annual Conference 2018, University of Exeter (April 2018)
  • "Practices of Citizenship and their Relationship to Land", Third-Year PhD Conference, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge (April 2018)


  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, Part 1A, Geopolitics and Political Geography
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, Part 1B, Citizenship, Cities and Civil Society

External activities

  • Co-convenor, Fieldwork Seminar Series
  • Graduate co-convenor, Infrastructural Geographies research group
  • Member, British Association of South Asian Studies
  • Member, Royal Geographical Society