Rijul Kochhar
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Rijul Kochhar

Rijul Kochhar earned a bachelor's degree in History from St. Stephen's College, Delhi, and an MA and MPhil in Sociology from the Delhi School of Economics. For his MPhil, Rijul wrote about disability in contemporary India, looking at medical-bureaucratic artefacts such as disability certificates to understand the construction and (re)circulation of disability as bodily experience, as bureaucratic fact, and as a procedural tactic of a state that is in search of "order, prosperity, and security" (Feldman and Ticktin: 2010). During his MA, under a research program funded by the EU, he conducted fieldwork in Berlin and Hedemora (Sweden) to chart the everyday life of disability in a European metropolis and small town. In the first half of 2015, Rijul served in an ad-hoc capacity on the Sociology teaching faculty at the Delhi School of Economics.

At MIT-HASTS, Rijul intends to expand his interests into the limits and contours of (dis)ability, by studying the ongoing/impending biomedical crisis of antibiotic resistance. Looking comparatively at sites of human and animal care in the United States and India (geographies divided by disparities in healthcare and access but conjoined in confronting a crisis that is at once planetary as it is intensely individual), he seeks to consider this emergent crisis of the modern from three vantage points: (1) the co-constitution of human and microbial forms of life; (2) the search for biosecurity in an age when (microbial) threats emerge out of human interventions in ecological worlds not subservient to sovereign borders; and (3) the history of antibiotics, the story of their ongoing crises, and the rise of alternatives that evoke technoscientific salvation (specifically, Soviet-era bacteriophage research, its Cold War repudiation in the Western world, and its contemporary resurgence within global biotech imaginaries). These forays fit within a larger research interest that seeks to examine the contours marking such alleged binaries as the natural and cultural, (forms of) life and dying, security and uncertainty, waiting and doing, etc. In the emergent ruins of antibiotics, what are the imaginative, technoscientific and biopolitical responses, and imaginaries of life-forms, being scrambled and torqued towards endurance and human survival in the early 21st century?

Key words

Anthropologies of waiting; Antibiotic resistance; Bacteriophages; Biopolitics and biosecurity; Cold War technoscience; Disability, toxicity, and injury; Emergen(t)cy states; Futures; Life-forms; Pharmaceuticals; Philosophy and Anthropology; Planetary crises; Zones of human/animal care; United States, India.




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