Aditi Saraf


Aditi completed her doctorate in Cultural Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. Her thesis examined the endurance of trade and commerce amidst political indeterminacy and military occupation in Kashmir. Combining ethnographic and archival work, her research focuses on the relationship between commerce and sovereignty in the northern and eastern highland frontiers of South Asia as manifested in trade networks, the history of economic regulation, patterns of mobility, and material practices of exchange.


Academic Biography

Since 2016
Postdoctoral Fellow ERC Starting Grant Project: Remoteness & Connectivity: Highland Asia in the World.
Doctoral Studies, Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University
Masters in Sociology, University of Delhi.
Bachelors (Hons) in English, University of Delhi.

Awards and Grants

Dean’s Teaching Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University.
Wenner Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant.
Social Science Research Council (SSRC), International Dissertation Research Fellowship.
Sarai Independent Research Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.
Gold Medal for Highest Marks in the MA examination in Sociology, Delhi University.
Muriel Wasi Award for first position in St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, for English (Hons).

Professional Appointments

Research Associate, National Knowledge Commission, Government of India.
Spring 2007
Visiting Instructor for “Gender & Society”, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee College, Delhi University.



August 2018
“Revivals: Customs, Boundaries and Mobility in Kashmir” Conference of the Asian Borderlands Research Network, 13-15 August, Bishkek, Kyrgystan.
March 2018
“Frontier explorations” Association of Asian Studies Conference, 22-25 March, Washington DC.
January 2018
Frontier’s Signature: Trade and Territory in Kashmir” Colloquium, School of Law, Governance and Citizenship, Ambedkar University, 30 January, Delhi, India.
December 2017
“Itinerants in the Archives: Traders, Thieves, Vagabonds” Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, 30th Nov-3rd December, Washington DC.
October 2017
“Financial Superstitions” Annual Meeting on South Asia, 26-28 October, Madison-Wisconsin.
August 2017
“The Politics of Trade” Workshop at the Tajik Academy of Sciences, 5th August Khorogh, Tajikistan.
March 2017
“The Trust Deficit: Truths, Lies and Social Encryptions” Dept. of Sociology, Shiv Nadar University, India.
Nov 2016
Ajal and the Politics of Untimely Death in Kashmir” Annual Meeting of Middle East Studies Association, Boston.
Oct 2016
“Occupying the Frontier”, Annual Meeting on South Asia Madison-Wisconsin.
May 2016
“Frontier Geographies: Transections and Transactions” Workshop on Genealogies of Financialization: Reframing Sovereignty in Asia, SSRC Inter Asia Connections V, Seoul.
Nov 2015
“Durations of Credit: Mobility and Morality in the Wholesale Market” Panel on Moralizing Economies, Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Denver.
Oct 2015
“Precarious Settlements: Trust and Doubt in the Marketplace” Annual Meeting on South Asia, Madison-Wisconsin
May 2015
“Knots of Trade”. Precarious Exchange: Materiality, Network, Value, South Asia by the Bay, University of California, Berkeley
April 2015
“Ellipses of Exchange”. Modern South Asia Workshop, Yale University, New Haven.
Nov 2014
“Bartering Across Borders: Notes on the Cross Border Trade at the Line of Control”. Annual Meeting, American Anthropological Association, Washington DC
May 2014
“The Turning Wheel – Credit Cycles in Srinagar’s Wholesale Hub” Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA), Biannual Meeting, Detroit.
Jan 2011
“Cities, Markets and Political Movements”, Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS), New Delhi, India.


In Preparation

“Knots of Trade: Credit and Conflict in the Wholesale Hub”.

Book Review

Review of Cabeiri Robinson’s Body of Victim, Body of Warrior: Refugee Families and the Making of Kashmiri Jihadists (2013). Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 22:2:457

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