Trilateral Initiatives in Emerging Regions Grant Recipients

Conservatism in India


"Conservatism in India" is a Trilateral Intiatives in Emerging Regions (T.I.E.R) project led by Sudipta Kaviraj (Columbia University), Christophe Jaffrelot, (Sciences Po), Malvika Maheshwari (Ashoka University). The project covers Indian politics, religion, and tradition.


Conservatism is a grand and powerful tradition in Indian politics that has been hidden in plain sight, overshadowed by the liberal and socialist nationalism of the ruling parties in India for most of the later half of the twentieth century, and more recently by intellectual frameworks that privilege ascriptive identities and material interests over ideological conviction in explaining political outcomes.   Yet, conservative attitudes abound in India. The success of the conservatives is intriguing because new entrepreneurs are emerging, especially in the service sector, love marriages are multiplying, caste hierarchies are eroding, the state seems to be undertaking some structural reform as the plebians play a more important role in the state apparatus, and reform movements are transforming religion. In this project, we seek to understand the Indian conservative tradition in its own terms – its core principles, its internal diversity– and how it has shaped Indian politics. The study of this conservatism is important because India, one of the few countries in the world, which has not experienced a révolution, has been hailed lately for its sense of technological innovation. But this modernization does not preclude the resilience of conservative attitudes in a variety of domains. The project seeks to bring together scholars from different disciplines to understand and explore the various facets of Indian conservatism.


Citizenship and Religion in the Global South


"Citizenship and Religion in the Global South" is a Trilateral Intiatives in Emerging Regions (T.I.E.R) project led by Richard Banegas (Sciences Po), Mamadou Diouf (Columbia University), Etienne Smith (Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique, Morocco). The project covers Comparative African Studies.


Studies of the Global South, and Africa in particular, are becoming more and more multipolar. As Morocco’s academic sphere is positioning itself as a new emerging actor for the study of Africa, thetradition of excellence in African Studies embodied by Columbia University’s and Sciences Po‘s provides for a timely trilateral blending of expertise with the new Chair in Comparative African Studies created at the Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique (UM6P) in Rabat. Faculty from these three institutions have decided to join forces to offer students state of the art research on the African continent, focusing on two important themes of contemporary relevance: citizenship and religion.


De-Provincializing Soft Power: A Global-Historical Approach, 1990-2015


De-Provincializing Soft Power: A Global-Historical Approach, 1990-2015 is a Trilateral Initiatives in Emerging Regions (T.I.E.R) project led by Richard Balme (Sciences Po), Victoria de Grazia (Columbia University), Yi Wei Wang (Renmin University). The project covers International History, International Relations, Communications, and Cultural studies.


Columbia University (European Institute and Columbia Global Centers | East Asia), Sciences Po, and Renmin University are partnering in a research project leading to a two-day conference in Beijing in May 2016 to study China’s use of cultural power in foreign relations in the period from circa 1990 to 2015. Project participants will analyze China’s concepts and practices of cultural power in the light of the US and European experiences of soft and normative power, and will also compare them with the experiences of Turkey and Brazil. This is the second phase of a three-year project, "De-Provincializing Soft Power: A Global-Historical Approach, 1990-2015," which was started in the fall of 2014 and which brings together an international group of scholars and students who combine innovative methodologies from international history, international relations, communications, and cultural studies. The main outcomes of this three-year project will be a collaboratively written global history of soft power, student research, and an open-access website.

New Approaches to the Study of Urban Africa: a Master Class


Masterclass “New Approaches to the Study of Urban Africa” is part of the larger proposed Alliance joint project, “Infrastructures, Technologies and Time in African Cities.” It represents the beginning of a trilateral collaboration between the Institute of African Studies (IAS) at Columbia, Center for International Studies and Research (CERI) at Sciences Po, and Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique (IFRA) at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. It supports an eight-day intensive collaborative masterclass at the University of Ibadan (UI) taught by a team of faculty from CU, Sciences Po, and UI on the following topics: social science and humanities methodologies in urban studies, theorizing urban Africa, a history of urban Africa, citizenship and the urban environment. Two shorter workshops on academic publishing and mapping and statistical analyses will accompany the series. The class will include students from UI, CU, and Sciences Po and will provide hands-on experience in conducting ethnographic and archival research. Participants will be encouraged to attend a three day conference “Lagos: From the Pepperfarm to the Megacity (and Beyond)” to be held at the University of Lagos, June 16-17, 2017 organized by IAS affiliated faculty and project participant, Prof. Abosede George (History, Barnard/CU). This project further seeks to facilitate collaborative research projects that bring French, Nigerian, and American scholars together on shared publications and conferences, including funding to support two Nigerian scholars travel to joint conferences at Sciences Po and CU (as part of the proposed Alliance joint project on Infrastructures).


The impacts of the implementation of real-time information service on households’ consumption practices in Indian cities: The analogy between water and electricity supply services in Bangalore


The Management Research Centre of the Ecole Polytechnique, The Columbia Water Centre and the Indian Institute of Science are partnering in a field research project aiming at understanding the growing demand for frugal information based services from Indian public utilities to circumvent the unreliability of their urban water and electricity supply systems.

The research focuses on the development in Bangalore of partial service upgrade experiments in the provision of these basic services, through the use of information technology.

Studying these initiatives has a strong relevance from both managerial and socio-economic perspectives. It will enrich our understanding on two interrelated issues:
1. The role of the ground level workers in the production of that real-time information
service through an in-depth study of the activity the valvemen of NextDrop (for water) and the linemen of Bescom (for electricity);
2. The willingness of the end-users to utilize these information services and their impacts at households’ water and electricity consumption practices.
The realization of this project requires adopting a multidisciplinary perspective mobilizing various fields (ex. political economy, public management, and information

Life History and Memographie: Encountering socio-religious change in Northwest Africa


This project brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars, researchers, and graduate students to workshop methodologies and theoretical approaches for understanding socio-religious change in Northwest Africa. This workshop brings together the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life’s (IRCPL) project, “Life History in Northwest Africa: Everyday Life, Historical Memory, and the Public Square,” with the “Mémographie” project at the Laboratoire d’Analyse des Sociétés et Pouvoirs / Afrique-Diasporas (LASPAD) at the University of Gaston Berger in Saint-Louis, Senegal, and puts both of these projects in conversation with French Academics based at Sciences Po.

Innovative Sensors and Light sources for Biomedical Applications

This project aims at identifying and optimizing unconventional sensors and light sources for point-of-care detection, advanced mobile healthcare, and implantable medical technologies. While the emergence of new electronic materials with mechanical flexibility, biocompatibility, and multi-functionality has been a key driver behind recent diagnosis and treatment tools, there is still a lack of fundamental understanding on how to design better-performing devices in a more predictable way. The three investigators of the project will combine their established research strengths on nanotechnology, thin-film electronics, and materials science to build a clearer vision of the fully conformable, highly energy-efficient, and significantly downsized application-ready biochips that are capable of bi-directional stimulation and recording of vital signals
at a high spatial and temporal resolution

A Holistic Approach to Social & Life Course Change in China

It is thought that Chinese patterns of family formation, education and employment careers, and migration behaviour have changed dramatically in the course of a century of massive structural, political, and cultural transformations. However, how and why the family, employment, and residential lives of Chinese men and women changed is not yet systemically understood. The overarching aim of this trilateral initiative is to advance the theoretical and methodological capacities of scholars to take a holistic approach to social and life course change in China. This project brings together students and faculty from Columbia University, Sciences Po, Peking University, and the University of Oxford to prepare open source multifaceted life history data, provide theoretical and methodological training in holistic life course sociology and data analysis, and produce new findings on family, employment, and residential life courses in China.

Ethnographies of African Work Worlds

Ethnographies of African Work Worlds is a year-long project that brings scholars from the United States, France, and Africa together to examine the changing nature of work and labor in contemporary Africa. Work and labor are not just crucial topics in African studies but are the topics around which African studies has been constructed and organized. Recent years, however, have seen the emergence of a slew of new forms of work – in cultural industries, digital start-ups, privatized transport systems – that are transforming both the nature of work for contemporary Africans and the ways scholars have conceived of and analyzed labor. At the same time, precarious forms of work or what might be designated as not work continue to expand in number. This project seeks to bring scholars together to: A) understand emerging forms of work that do not quite fit into existing conceptual categories and B) re-examine how scholars, intellectuals and policy makers analytically conceive of work and its operations in contemporary Africa.