Dr. Sahana Udupa

Dr. Sahana Udupa

Social Anthropology

Sahana Udupa is now Professor of Media Anthropology at LMU Munich.


Sahana Udupa is a social anthropologist and communications scholar with research interests in journalism cultures, digital media politics, religion and global urbanization. In her fieldwork in Bangalore and Mumbai in India, and among the South Asian diaspora in Europe, her work has traced the transforming media and urban landscapes of late capitalism that are today inseparable from how religion and cultures are experienced, politicized and put to a variety of intentions by actors both within and beyond the national boundaries. Conceptually, her research raises the question of 'mediation' as a media technological, performative and experiential space in which to articulate political practice.  

Sahana’s first book, Making News in Global India: Media, Publics, Politics (Cambridge University Press) is a critical reading of news cultures and urban transformation. The book builds on multiyear ethnographic fieldwork inside the Times of India, the largest media house in India, and the bilingual news field in the city of Bangalore – the much hyped outsourcing hub for the global high-tech economy.  The book shows how the expanding news media played a critical role in the contested aspiration of building a ‘global city’ in India, when commercial journalism became both an object and agent of global urbanization. The book offers the concepts of “bhasha media” and “desire/visibility disjunction” to take media theory beyond the divide between public good and private accumulation.

Book talk events:
Hosted by Florida State University, Engage Your World Series, 29 September 2015
Hosted by University of Pennsylvania, Annenberg School for Communication, Center for Global Communication Studies, South Asian Studies Center and CASI, 17 November 2015

The second book (in preparation) explores the political dynamics of social media cultures, to draw attention to the flux of new voices that articulate liberalization friendly “New India” as well as technological modernity. Theoretically, it addresses online cultures of “mediatized politics” at the nexus of technology, market and culture.  

Sahana’s other project is on television and religion. It examines the proliferation of religious programs on commercial television in South India as a lens to understand the conditions that facilitate synergies between religious enterprise, media creativity and economic mediation in a liberalizing era.

Sahana was a Spring 2010 Visiting Scholar and currently an Affiliate at the Center for Global Communication Studies, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.