Personal profile


Associate Professor Tanya Jakimow is an anthropologist working in India and Indonesia. She is currently an Australian Research Council Future Fellow, working on a project examining women’s political labour and pathways to politics in Medan, Indonesia, and Dehradun, India. She collaborates with scholars and practitioners in Indonesia, India and Australia, aiming to make theoretical contributions to the anthropology of politics (in particular gender and politics) and to enhance understandings about the enduring problem of women’s political under-representation.

The central focus of Tanya’s work is the micro-politics of local level development. Her current book Susceptibility in Development: Micro-politics of urban development in India and Indonesia, (in-press, release date July 2020, Oxford University Press ‘Critical Frontiers of Development Studies’ series) brings affect theory into conversation with theories of power in Development Studies to propose a new approach to understanding power configurations in local level development. It draws upon ethnographic research with volunteers in a community-driven development program in Medan, Indonesia, and with women Municipal Councillors in Dehra Dun, India, and was funded by an Australian Research Council DECRA Award.

As a postdoctoral fellow at CSIRO (2010-2012), Tanya worked on interdisciplinary research projects examining rural livelihoods in the context of climate variability. Her second monograph, Decentring Development: Understanding Change in Agrarian Societies (2015, Palgrave MacMillan, Anthropology, Change and Development series) centres the political economy of selfhood in analysis of rural livelihoods and agrarian transformation, drawing upon research conducted in Telangana, India, and Central Lombok, Indonesia. It also outlines an approach to the anthropology for development which favours curiosity and a focus on broader processes of change over answering pre-defined research questions.

Her first monograph, Peddlers of Information: Indian NGOs in the Information Age (2012, Kumarian Press), examined the knowledge making practices of small local NGOs in Uttarakhand, India, and is based on her PhD on the topic. Her journal articles on these topics (among others) span the fields/disciplines of Development Studies, Anthropology and Asian Studies.

Tanya Jakimow is founding member and current President of the Development Studies Association of Australia. She is also secretary of the South Asian Studies Association of Australia.


Research interests

Gender and politics; party politics and political labour; anthropology of development; affect, emotions and power; comparative ethnography; community development; personhood in development contexts; agrarian political economy and change; livelihoods; non-government organisations.

Researcher's projects


ARC Future Fellowship (2020-2024) ‘Women, politics and democracy: political labour in India and Indonesia’

ARC Discovery Project (2020-2023) Lead-investigator with Professor Ramaswami Harindranath (UNSW) and Professor Ursula Rao (University of Leipzig) from the project: ‘Life, living and livelihoods in satellite cities: new urban formations in India’

Grant to be announced (2020-2021) Lead-investigator for project: ‘Pathways to politics for grassroots and development-sector women in Sri Lanka and Indonesia’

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (2019) International investigator on ‘Infrastructure and the remaking of Asia’ led by Professors Ursula Rao (University of Leipzig) and Anja-Desirée Senz (University of Heidelberg) 


Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) (2013-2017) Awarded by the Australian Research Council for the project ‘Personhood and urban development in Medan, Indonesia and Dehradun, India’

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research  (2010-2011) Project variation grant for research examining the ways agrarian livelihoods were changing in response to climate variability

Endeavour Research Fellowship (2010) Awarded by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Government of Australia. Project title: Institutions and livelihoods: understanding change in agrarian contexts


PhD University of Melbourne; Graduate Certificate University Learning and Teaching (UNSW)

Education/Academic qualification

Higher Education, Graduate Certificate of University Learning and Teaching, UNSW

Award Date: 19 Dec 2014

Expertise Areas

  • Anthropology of Development
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • Gender Specific Studies
  • Studies of Asian Society


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