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

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 also the Director of the South Asian Studies Program at Rutgers.

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 have an active research lab group broadly focused on urban and environmental politics that meets monthly. I am enthusiastic to work with students with an ethnographic sensibility and conviction to understand and challenge entrenched forms of inequality, especially (but not only) in India.



Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley. 2010.
M.A. University of California, Berkeley. 2004.
B.A. Colby College, Waterville, Me. 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: Hudson McFann, Sangeeta Banerji, Wei-Chieh Hung, Thomas Crowley, Sadaf Javed, Stuti Govil

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