My current research focuses on processes of urbanization, industrialization and socioeconomic change in small-town India. Specifically, my PhD research focuses on the town of Mahad, Maharashtra in western India. Probably best known for its role in the anti-caste struggle (particularly as the site of two major protests by the pioneering anti-caste leader Dr. B.R. Ambedkar), Mahad has—since the 1980s—also been the site of an industrial area supported by the state government. Struggles over water have played key parts of Mahad's anti-caste histories, as well as its industrial development. My research thus seeks to ask: how have caste-based assertions intersected with struggles over the commons to produce ideological and material disputes over water and pollution in one of India’s most rapidly transforming regions?

The research is currently somewhat stalled due to the pandemic, but the following article has emerged from preliminary fieldwork and initial theoretical reflections:

  • Crowley, Thomas. 2020. "Leisure, Festival, Revolution: Ambedkarite
    Productions of Space." CASTE: A Global Journal on Social Exclusion 1 (2): 31–50. DOI: 10.26812/caste.v1i2.199