Bani Gill

Research Affiliate

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Bani Gill is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the Department ‘Anthropology of Politics and Governance’ at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany. She is also an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Sociology, University of Tübingen.

An ethnographer with a regional focus on South Asia and global Africa–India encounters, she has wide-ranging research and teaching interests in the anthropology of migration, urbanism, race, embodiment, policing, and the state. Her scholarship has examined contemporary Africa–India migrations as an entry point to investigate tensions emerging from “new” cultural, political, and economic encounters in the Global South. She is keenly interested in questions of conflict and conviviality, social difference and identity about urban futures, and the intersections between race, gender, and sociocultural boundary-making. She also has an interest in themes of “illegality” and “informality” and relational experience(s) of law and state power as lived in the socio-legal urban periphery.

She is working on a monograph examining contemporary patterns of transnational mobility from the African continent to India. Based upon long-term ethnography conducted in Delhi since 2015 with African migrants (mainly from Nigeria), Indian residents, market, and state actors cohabiting in unplanned settlements, the book documents how urban transformations in cities across India shape localized citizen–migrant interactions amidst changes in global networks of capital and labour and how paradigms of anti-black racism draw upon caste- and religion-inflected discourses of exclusion in their intersection with global and hegemonic representations of race.

Her MSCA project engages with the complexities of deportation policing in India. Empirically situated in Delhi, the project aims to ethnographically document various social, material, and biometric forms of deportation policing and the impact of such dis/connected infrastructures on differently racialized migrant populations (African migrants and Bengali South Asian migrants).

Alongside ethnographic fieldwork, she is keenly interested in methodologies of visual storytelling and collaborative semi-fictional writing.

University of Tübingen profile | Max Planck Institute profile


Gill, B. “The Social Life of Illegality: Suspicion and Surveillance against African Migrants in Urban India”, American Anthropologist (Forthcoming)

Gill, B. “The Work of Proximity: Migration as Coexistence”. In Flemmer, R., Gill, B. and Kosgei J. (Ed.), Proximity as Method: Concepts for Coexistence in the Global Past and Present. Routledge India (Forthcoming)

Flemmer, R., Gill, B. and Kosgei J (Ed.), Proximity as Method: Concepts for Coexistence in the Global Past and Present. Routledge India (Forthcoming)