Professor Manali Desai

BA (Michigan), MA (UCLA), PhD (UCLA)

Fellow (C), Director of Studies, Postgraduate Mentor, BME Advisor

College Roles

  • Professorial Fellow (C)
  • Director of Studies in Human, Social and Political Sciences (Part I, MT & LT; Parts IIA & IIB Social Anthropology, MT & LT; Parts IIA & IIB, Sociology)
  • Postgraduate Mentor
  • BME Advisor

University Roles

  • Professor of Sociology
  • Head of the Department of Sociology




Manali Desai received her PhD in Sociology from the University of California-Los Angeles where she trained as a comparative and historical sociologist. She has taught at universities in the US and UK, most recently at the London School of Economics. Much of her work has focused on Indian politics and social movements, focusing on the transformation of identities and interests during the long transition from the colonial to post-colonial periods.

Research Interests

State formation, political parties, social movements, development, ethnic violence, and post-colonial studies

Professor Manali Desai was awarded the 2019 Pilkington Teaching Prize, in recognition of her commitment to and impact on teaching at the University of Cambridge.