Geography Knows No Boundaries

  • Portrait (head shot photo)
  • D. Asher Ghertner
  • Associate Professor & Graduate Director
  • (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley)
  • Office: Lucy Stone Hall Room B-238
  • Phone: (848) 445-4128
  • Email:
  • Research Interests: urban geography, development and displacement, political ecology, aesthetic politics, ethnography, postcolonialism, India
  • Core Faculty, Graduate Faculty

Curriculum Vitae

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I am an interdisciplinary geographer interested in the technologies and tactics through which mass displacement is conceived, justified and enacted. My research uses the contemporary politics of urban renewal in India to challenge conventional theories of economic transition, city planning, and political rule. I taught for two years at the London School of Economics before joining Rutgers in 2012. I am the current Graduate Program Director in Geography and served as the Director of the South Asian Studies Program at Rutgers from 2013-2020.

I am the author or editor of three books published or forthcoming and have published widely on subaltern urbanism, environmental politics, aesthetic governmentality, property, and the uses and limits of gentrification theory.

A new book project, tentatively titled “Bad Air: Life Exposed in the Climate of Crisis,” uses the challenges of extreme air pollution exposure in Delhi, "the world's most air-polluted city" (WHO 2014), to expose the ethics of the Anthropocene to the challenge of postcolonial justice. Through different analytical "suspensions" – including calibration, precipitation, respiration, and sublimation – I ask what new social compositions become possible when life is imagined and fought over atmospherically. Individual chapters focus, inter alia, on the history of racialized pulmonary medicine, the extension of residential models of segregation into new "premium atmospheres" in gated communities and schools, the city as air conditioner, the caste/class habitus of atmospheric attunement, and new claims to atmospheric citizenship.

I run a Postcolonial Cities lab that meets regularly to explore the spatialization of inequality, as well as innovative spatial and political articulations of the right to the city. I regularly teach graduate seminars in urban theory and have taught the large School of Arts and Sciences Signature course called "Cities" for the past five years, an introduction to global urbanism through a multi-media study of cities from the streets up.



Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley. 2010.
M.A. University of California, Berkeley. 2004.
B.A. Colby College, 2001.

Recent Courses:

450:250: Cities
450:363: Geography of Development
450:516: Urban Natures
450:516: Urban Geography: Dis/Possession
450:605:03: Critical Ethnographies of Power and Hegemony
450:620: The Urban Revolution

Selected Publications:


Current Students: Sangeeta Banerji, Sam Bowden, Thomas Crowley, Stuti Govil, Wei-Chieh Hung, Sadaf Javed, Hudson McFann 

Current Post-Doctoral Advisees: Dr. Devra Waldman

Former PhD Students: Ben Gerlofs, Alison Horton Schaeffing, Priti Narayan

Upcoming Events

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Geography Major and Minor


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International and Global Studies Minor


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Environmental Studies Major and Minor


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Graduate Program


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