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Dr James Staples

Dr James Staples
Reader - Anthropology

Marie Jahoda 137


After completing a first degree in anthropology in 1990 I worked for nearly ten years as a journalist before my ongoing fascination with South India drew me back to SOAS, University of London, to undertake a PhD. Thanks to ESRC and British Academy Fellowships I was able to stay on there for four years after completion as a post-doctoral fellow, broadening out my initial research on the social consequences of leprosy to consider how attitudes towards negatively construed bodily differences in India are shaped by – and shape – ideas about what constitutes human completeness. A further 16-months’ fieldwork in Hyderabad examined how the category of disability is constituted in multiple ways, and how it is experienced by disabled people in their day-to-day interactions. I joined Brunel as a lecturer in January 2007, returning regularly to my original field site to pursue new research on various topics, including food and social mobility, and suicide.


  • PhD Social Anthropology (SOAS, London) 2003
  • BA (Hons) Social Anthropology (SOAS, London) 1990
  • PG Cert (Brunel) 2008

Newest selected publications

Staples, J. (2020) 'Decolonising Disability Studies? Developing South Asia-Specific Approaches to Understanding Disability', in Mehrotra, N. (ed.) Disability Studies in India: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Springer. pp. 1 - 20.Open Access Link

Book chapter

Staples, J. (2019) 'Blurring Bovine Boundaries: Cow Politics and the Everyday in South India'. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 42 (6). pp. 1125 - 1140. ISSN: 0085-6401 Open Access Link

Journal article

Staples, J. (2018) 'Doing disability through charity and philanthropy in contemporary South India'. Contributions to Indian Sociology, 52 (2). pp. 129 - 155. ISSN: 0069-9667 Open Access Link

Journal article

Staples, J. (2018) 'Appropriating the Cow: Beef and Identity Politics in Contemporary India', in Bhushi, K. (ed.) Farm to Fingers: The Culture and Politics of Food in Contemporary India. Cambridge University Press. pp. 58 - 79.Open Access Link

Book chapter

Staples, J. and Klein, JK. (2017) 'Introduction: Consumer and Consumed'. Ethnos: journal of anthropology, 72 (2). ISSN: 1469-588X Open Access Link

Journal article
More publications(36)