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The Australian National University

Dr Assa Doron

Senior Fellow, Anthropology, ARC Future Fellow 2012-2016, School of Culture, History & Language
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

Areas of expertise

  • Studies Of Asian Society 169903
  • Social And Cultural Anthropology 160104
  • Anthropology Of Development 160101
  • Communications Technologies 1005
  • Other Medical And Health Sciences 1199

Research interests

The anthropology of contemporary India, and South Asia; development studies and contemporary health practices; urbanization; modernity, and identity politics; religion; ethnographic practice, new media, waste and recycling.


Assa Doron joined ANU in August 2007. His latest book, co-authored with Robin Jeffrey on mobile phones in India, titled, The Great Indian Phone Book (Harvard UP/C. Hurst, 2013), and published in India under the title Cellphone Nation: how the mass mobile changes business, politics and daily life. The book received wide media coverage and favourable reviews in the international media, including: The Economist, India Today, Times Higher Education, The Wall Street Journal, LA Review of Books, Bloomberg, Economic & Political Weekly (EPW), IMF Quarterly, Business Standard, LSE Review of Books,, The Australian, and SMH as well as in various academic journals.

Doron & Jeffrey are currently completing a book on Waste in India (Harvard, forthcoming 2016).

Assa Doron is Director of the South Asia Research Institute at ANU (

Career highlights

2013/4 – Awarded Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASAA) Early Career Research Prize

2012 - Awarded Australian Research Council Future Fellowship

2008 - Awarded Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship 


Doron's articles and interviews include: The New York Times (Blog), The Hindu,, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Times of India, Canberra Times, Inside Story, SBS radio (interviewed in Hindi) ABC radio (Late Night Live), ABC 24, Lok Sabha TV (India's parliamentary TV Channel), and Tehelka TV. 


Researcher's projects

Key research areas focus on the themes of Media and Technology, Culture and Politics, and Health and Society. Research projects and grants include:

2015-16 -- RSAP, New Directions Grant

2011-15   ARC Future Fellowship. Project title: Recycling Modernity: An anthropological study of India’s mobile phone repair and recycling economies.

2015 - English Adjusted: Everyday English Keywords in India.

2011 -- Australia-India Council Research Grant. Project title: Celebrating Subaltern Studies: A symposium.

2009-10 -- AusAID Australian Development Research Award. Project title: Masculinity and violence in Indonesia and India.

2009-12 -- ARC Discovery Project [DP0985784]. Project title: Mediated Mobilities: India’s low caste revolution in the media age.

2009-12 - ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship [DP0985784]. Project title: Mediated Mobilities: India’s low caste revolution in the media age.

2008 -- Research Grant (ARC-APFRN, CAPSTARNS, RSPAS). Workshop title: Health, Culture and Religion in South Asia.

Available student projects


 Completions (PhD) 

  • Annie McCarthy, Anthropology, ‘Children’s Stories about Children’s Stories’, ANU 2016 (Chair supervisor)
  • Sacha Cody, ‘Consumer desire and risk society in urban China’ 2016 (Supervisor)
  • Le Hoang Ngoc Yen, Anthropology, ‘The Social and Cultural Construction of Leprosy in Vietnam’, ANU 2015 (Supervisor)
  • Patrick McCarthy, Asian Studies, ‘Spiritual Capital, Power and Sanskrit: An ethnographic study of the Temple of Peace ashram’, ANU 2015, (Supervisor)
  • Xuang Dong, Anthropology, ‘Fighting for Urban Citizenship in China’, ANU 2015 (Supervisor)
  • Udeni Appuhamilage (Anthropology, Sri Lanka) ANU, 2014 (Supervisor)
  • Kate Sullivan: ‘Conceptualising India as a “Great Power” since Independence’, ANU, 2012  (Advisor)
  • Venkatachalam Thiruppugazh: ‘Natural Disasters and their Mitigation in South Asia 2012’, ANU, 2012 (Advisor)
  • Jessica Hinchy: ‘Illicit Sex, Criminal Gender: The “deviant” subjects of the British Raj’, ANU, 2013 (Advisor)

Ongoing Supervision

  • Kavesh Muhamed (Anthropology, ‘Human-Animal Relations in Rural Pakistan’)
  • Mohit Chaturvedi (Anthropology and Development, ‘Consumption in India’)
  • Jesse Buck (Cultural Studies, ‘Where Parsis, Hindus and Histories Meet’)
  • Catherine Schuetze (Religious Studies, Tibetan Veterinarian Practices)



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Updated:  23 October 2016 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers