International Development

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Dr Thomas Chambers

Post:Associate Tutor (Anthropology)
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I have a first-class honours degree in International Development from the University of Liverpool, a MSc in Cross Cultural Research Methods and a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Sussex.  My doctoral and ongoing research is focused on labour, migration, craftwork and Islam in India and the Gulf.  I also have publications in progress examining urban space, marginalisation and the socio-economic position of Indian Muslims.  Additionally, I have emerging research interests focusing on the role of paperwork and other documents in constructing citizenship and forms of marginalisation in India.  I have substantial teaching experience across a range of formats including seminars, lectures and dissertation supervision at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.  As a Teaching Fellow in Anthropology and International Development I have convened a range of modules including Advanced Theory, Kinship & Relatedness, The Anthropological Imagination, Ideas & Actors in Development, Cities & Urban Lives and Ethnographic Methods.  

Teaching is a tremendous passion of mine and I have worked hard to develop a creative pedagogical approach.  I continuously strive to provide a stimulating, engaging and participatory teaching environment for students and draw on previous experience in the performing arts as well as grounded pedagogical techniques.  My work in this regard has been acknowledged through Sussex University’s Student Led Teaching Award, which I won in both 2014/15 and 2016/17, and positive feedback from peer observation from faculty.  I am working to further develop my teaching skills by undertaking a PGCert.  I achieved Associate Fellow status in March and will become a Fellow of the HEA in September. 

Whilst I am currently in a teaching role, I have continued to be research active, developing materials for publication and carrying out ongoing fieldwork.  Currently my article titled ‘Continuity in Mind: Imagination & Migration between India & the Gulf’ has been accepted by Modern Asian Studies and is due into print mid-2018 with an online version out shortly.  Additionally, I have a sole author piece accepted for a special issue, again for Modern Asian Studies, which will be edited by Dr Madalyn Reeves (Manchester) and Prof. Magnus Marsden (Sussex).  The article explores ‘conviviality’ in provincial urban contexts within North India and has been accepted with minor corrections.  An additional manuscript entitled ’Apna Kam (Own Work): Affect & ‘Entrepreneurialism’ in an Indian Craft Industry’ is under review with the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.  

Alongside these contributions, I am acting as an editor and contributor with Dr Shalini Grover (University of Delhi) and Prof. Patricia Jeffery (University of Edinburgh) on a special issue for the Journal of South Asian Development. The issue is titled ‘The Domestic Service Sector and Reproductive Work in Contemporary India’ and follows on from a conference we co-organised at the University of Delhi in January 2016.  The proposal for the special issue has been accepted and we are now in the second round of editing before submission of the final pieces.  Finally, I am a founding member of a developing research network with Dr Adam Fishwick and Dr Anita Hammer (both DMU - Leicester) called Labour, Work, and Development (  The network brings together scholars from a variety of disciplines and universities across the UK and Europe who are involved in research on labour, work, and development in the ‘Global South’.  We held our inaugural conference in May 2016 at DMU and a second took place at Sussex in February this year.  We hope that this second workshop, which builds on the first, will lead to a special issue (possibly in World Development), an AHRC Networking Grant application and ongoing collaborative efforts.

In terms of new research, I am continuing work in North India.  This has primarily involved a project with Prof Geert De Neve and Dr Grace Carswell (both Sussex), for which we hold a Researcher Development Grant and a BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant.  The project explores the materiality of cards (such as ID and ration cards) and paperwork in India.  The research examines everyday engagements with these artefacts, the politics of obtaining cards and claim making, as well as intersections with local power structures and new technology.  This has involved two periods of fieldwork in the summer of 2015 and 2016.  We anticipate developing two co-authored pieces for leading journals as well as a sole authored piece each.  


In Press                  

Chambers, T. (2018) Continuity in Mind: Imagination & Migration between India & the Gulf’ Modern Asian Studies (Pre-publication version available here:         

‘Performed Conviviality’: Space, Bordering & Silence in the City. Modern Asian Studies (Part of a SI edited by Prof. Magnus Marsden & Dr Madeline Reeves) 

In Progress

Grover, S. Jeffery, P. & Chambers, T. (Eds.) Introduction to an edited volume on ‘Domestic’ Work in India JSAD (Journal of South Asia Development)

Chambers, T. & Ansari, A. Blurring the Boundaries: From Home to Factory to ‘Home’ (Journal of South Asia Development) 

Under Review      

Chambers, T. Apna Kam (Own Work): Affect & ‘Entrepreneurialism’ in an Indian Craft Industry. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

In Writing              

Carswell, G. Chambers, T & De Neve, G. Waiting, time and everyday encounters with the state in contemporary India (Journal TBC)

Chambers, T. Of Thēkēdārs (Contractors), Friends & Neighbours: Intimacy in the Supply Chain (Journal TBC)

Chambers, T. 'Lean on Me': Cards, Technology & the Enactment of Sifarish in North India (Journal TBC)



Teaching Fellow & Researcher.  Currently working on labour & migration in indian craft industries and a project entitled 'The Materiality of Citizenship and State-Society Interaction: A Study of Official Documents, Cards and Paperwork in India' with Geert De Neve and Grace Carswell

Community and Business

I am available for consultation work and confrences within appropriate fields.


PhD Social Anthropology

MSc Research methods

BA (First Class Hons) International Development