Sahana Udupa is a communications scholar and social anthropologist with research and teaching interests in journalism cultures, digital media politics, religion, global urbanization, and media policy. She joined SPP as associate professor in journalism and media studies in August 2016. 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.
Udupa completed her PhD at NIAS Bengaluru and as a visiting scholar at CGCS, University of Pennsylvania. Based on fieldwork in India and among the South Asian diaspora in Europe, her work has traced the transforming media and urban landscapes of late capitalism. Conceptually, her research 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 American Ethnologist, Media, Culture and Society, Communication, Culture and Critique, Economic and Political Weekly, and Critique of Anthropology, among others. 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.
Sahana 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.