Aniruddhan Vasudevan

Link-Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows
Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and Anthropology
2020-2023 Cohort

Aniruddhan Vasudevan is a sociocultural anthropologist whose research focuses on the intersections of gender and sexuality, religion, and ethics of relationality and care. He holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. His current book project, based on his dissertation, is an ethnographic study of religious and communal life among a group of thirunangai transgender women in Chennai, India. It details the role that attachment to goddess Angalamman plays in shaping ethical life for these actors, informing conceptions of self, ideas of desirable life, and practices of mutual care, affection, and confrontation. His dissertation research was supported by fellowships from the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Taraknath Das Foundation, and multiple centers at the University of Texas at Austin.

Vasudevan's broader and ongoing interests are towards understanding how people form structures of care outside of traditional forms of family and community; how they commit to such visions of belonging; what rituals, practices, and narratives anchor such visions and commitments; and how such projects of world-making relate to logics of state, capital, and political action. His current theoretical attention is on certain core concerns of the anthropology of ethics and morality: questions of freedom and constraint; forms of ethical subjectivation; demarcation of 'ethical action' and 'ethical moment;' and the question of context (what, how much, how little, etc.). 

At Princeton, Vasudevan will work on a number of journal articles, an edited volume on queer/trans friendship and intimacy, and a monograph based on his dissertation research. He is also a translator of celebrated works of fiction by Tamil authors Ambai and Perumal Murugan. In fall 2021, he will teach "Queer Becomings," which is a course in queer anthropology and ethnography, and in spring 2022 he will teach an introductory course in the anthropology of religion.

Vasudevan's forthcoming publications include an essay on wonder and ethics as part of an anthology on wonder, and an article in progress that analyzes LGBTQ crisis intervention as an ethical mode of embodying others' crises, facilitated by a specific understanding of what 'crisis' can mean.