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Prof. Dr. Sahana Udupa

Prof. Dr. Sahana Udupa



Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Institut für Ethnologie
Oettingenstr. 67
80538 München

Room: C 010
Phone: +49 (0) 89 / 2180 - 9614
Fax: +49 (0) 89 / 2180 - 9602

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Areas of research and interest

Digital politics, global digital cultures, news and journalism, urban politics, media policy


India, South Asian diaspora in Europe, global digital media

Sahana Udupa is a communications scholar and social anthropologist with research and teaching interests in digital politics, global digital cultures, news media and journalism, urban politics, and media policy. Previously, she was Research Fellow and currently a Senior Research Partner at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany. Prior to joining LMU, she was Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at the School of Public Policy, Central European University.

In 2016, Udupa received the European Research Council Starting Grant award for her project on digital media politics. This project, with a core team of postdoctoral researchers at LMU and a wider, international network of scholars around the world, explores contemporary landscapes of digital politics in India and the Indian diaspora, examining the influence of the Internet and social media on political participation and notions of national belonging. The project hosts a monthly podcast series, “Online Gods”, which features lively discussions with digital media scholars and online activists. For more on the project, visit

Based on fieldwork in India, the South Asian diaspora in Europe, and global digital cultures, her work has traced the transforming media and urban landscapes of late capitalism. Her latest research centers on online extreme speech and exclusionary nationalism. Conceptually, her work raises the question of "mediation" as a media technological, performative, and experiential space to articulate political practice.

Her first book, Making News in Global India: Media, Publics, Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2015) is a critical reading of news cultures and urban transformation. It shows how the expanding news media played a critical role in the contested aspiration of building a 'global city' in India, when commercial journalism became both an object and agent of global urbanization. More on the book in a podcast on New Books Network here.

The second book (in preparation) explores the political dynamics of social media, to draw attention to the flux of new voices that articulate liberalization friendly "New India" and technological modernity. With Stephen McDowell, she has coedited a volume on South Asian media politics for Routledge (London). Her work has been published in leading journals including American Ethnologist, New Media and Society, International Journal of Communication, Media, Culture and Society, Communication, Culture and Critique, Economic and Political Weekly, and Critique of Anthropology. Her forthcoming publications include a special section on global digital cultures and extreme speech online for International Journal of Communication. She also contributes to popular media and policy debates, and has co-organized media policy symposia in New Delhi involving media practitioners, policy makers, and civil society representatives. She is also involved in the India-Pakistan track two dialogue on new media and alternative narratives.
Sahana Udupa is Research Affiliate at the Center for Global Communication Studies, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, and Center for South Asian Media and Cultural Studies at the Florida State University. She is on the Advisory Board for the Center for Media and Religion at the New York University. Udupa is the Associate Editor of “South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies” and serves on the editorial board of “Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism”. She is the co-convener for the Media Anthropology Network at the European Association for Social Anthropologists.