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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, online extreme speech and hate speech, politics of artificial intelligence, global digital cultures, news and journalism, urban politics, media policy, political cultures of religion.

Sahana Udupa is Professor of Media Anthropology at LMU Munich with research and teaching interests in digital politics, journalism and urban cultures. 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, explores the influence of Internet enabled media on right-wing nationalism, religious majoritarianism and diaspora digital activism. More about the project: In 2020, she received the European Research Council Proof of Concept award for developing collaborative Artificial Intelligence model to tackle online extreme speech. She serves on the advisory board of MediaWell, an initiative by the Social Science Research Council Network for Peace, Security and the United Nations, to track research on digital disinformation.

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.

Across ongoing research projects, Udupa’s work has traced the transforming media and urban landscapes of late capitalism. Her latest research centers on online extreme speech and right-wing politics. 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 about the book in the New Books Network podcast available here.

The second book (in preparation) explores how political cultures of Internet enabled social media have spawned exclusionary nationalism through disinformation, online vitriol and digital archiving practices.

The third book, “Digital Hate: The Global Conjuncture of Online Extreme Speech” (co-edited with Iginio Gagliardone and Peter Hervik) is forthcoming. In 2019, she published two special issues: “Extreme speech and global digital cultures” in International Journal of Communication (with Matti Pohjonen); and “Digital politics in Millennial India” in Television & New Media (with Shriram Venkatraman and Aasim Khan).

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. She also contributes to popular media and policy debates, and has co-organized media policy consultation workshops in New Delhi involving media practitioners, policy makers, Internet regulation experts and civil society groups. 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. She is the co-editor for the book series, “Anthropology of Media”, published by Berghahn (New York). She is the Associate Editor of “South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies” and serves on the editorial boards of American Ethnologist; Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism; Television & New Media; and Media Theory Journal. She is the co-convener for the Media Anthropology Network at the European Association of Social Anthropologists.


India, South Asian diaspora in Europe, global digital media


List of Publications & Talks_Sahana Udupa_Oct2019 (113 KByte)


A Study on Digital Politics, Nationalism, Diaspora, and Global Extreme Speech more