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scrSudhir Chella Rajan
Room No.: HSB 331C
Phone : +91 (44) 2257 4525
Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Academic Background:
  • B.Tech in Aeronautical Engineering from IIT Bombay
  • M.S. in Meteorology from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
  • D.Env. (Doctor of Environmental Science and Engineering) from University of California, Los Angeles
Research Interests:
  • Automobility
  • Political theory and the environment
  • Climate and migration
  • Climate policy
  • Sustainable development
Research Interests:
  • In very broad terms, my intellectual concerns lie at the interface of the environment and political theory. What normative claims do problems such as pollution, climate change, and loss of biodiversity place on human societies, and how adequate or not are prevalent institutional arrangements to respond to them? How does the state identify legitimate and effective means of environmental governance, and what strategies does it use to navigate among competing concerns? I am also interested in examining situations, particularly in the context of environmental crises, where the state runs into trouble at the edges of liberal democratic theory, and in exploring whether these boundary concerns in turn shift the terms of political discourse. These issues I am currently exploring in the context of India, whose developmental ambitions and fragmented polity further confound the frame.
  • In the past, I have used liberal political philosophy as a lens to investigate the state's commitment to sustaining automobility in Western democracies, in the face of severe local pollution concerns. I am currently engaged in a broader attempt to theorise automobility as a global phenomenon and its emerging political and cultural dimensions. I have also worked on the relationship between climate change and migration, cosmopolitan politics, and institutions and corruption.
  • I do a fair amount of scenario-based analysis on transport, energy and climate change, primarily as a means to provide my conceptual interests a strong grounding in specific policy questions. In this regard, my team and I have been working on building climate and energy scenarios for India, one of which have a strong normative focus on reducing carbon emissions while raising incomes and livelihoods for the bottom quintile. Other work of this nature includes developing sustainable transport policy both in Indian cities and in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where I have been working in collaboration with respective UNDP offices. Lastly, along with Sujatha Byravan from the Centre for Development Finance at IFMR, I have been working on sea level rise as a possible driver of political and ethical shifts in the discourse on climate change.
Teaching Interests:
  • Corruption and Development
  • Democracy Theory and Practice
  • Development Planning and Project Appraisal
  • Environmental and Resource Economics
  • Great Social Thinkers
  • Urbanization and Development
Professional Experience:
  • 2007-present: Professor, Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras
  • 2000-2007: Senior Fellow, Tellus Institute, Boston, MA, USA
  • 1999-2000: Consultant, UNDP, New York
  • 1995-1999: Director (Operations and Asia), International Energy Initiative, Bangalore, India
  • 1989-1994: Air Resources Engineering Associate, California Air Resources Board, El Monte, CA, USA
  • 1988: Air Quality Scientist, ENSR, Camarillo, CA, USA
Representative Publications:
  • S.C. Rajan (2010) Parental Sacrifice as Atonement for Future Climate Change, in Michael Maniates and John Meyer (eds.) The Environmental Politics of Sacrifice, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2010
  • S. Byravan and S.C. Rajan (2010): "The Ethical Implications of Sea-level Rise Due to Climate Change," Ethics and International Affairs, 24.2, Fall Issue.
  • S.C. Rajan (2008) Meeting the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Challenge: The Case for Biome Stewardship Councils. In Janet Ranganathan et al., (Eds.) Policies for Sustainable Governance of Global Ecosystem Services, Edward Elgar, UK.
  • Mayer Hillman, Tina Fawcett and S.C.Rajan (2007) The Suicidal Planet: How to Prevent Global Climate Catastrophe, St. Martin's Press, New York.
  • S.C. Rajan (2007): "Automobility, liberalism and the ethics of driving," Environmental Ethics Spring 2007, 77-90.
  • S.C. Rajan (2006): "Climate Change Dilemma: Technology, Social Change, or Both? An Examination of Long-Term Transport Policy Choices in the United States," Energy Policy 34: 664–679.
  • S.C. Rajan (2006) Automobility and the Liberal Disposition. In Steffen Boehm et al. (Eds.), Against Automobility: Social Scientific Analyses of a Global Phenomenon, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford
  • S.C. Rajan (1996) The Enigma of Automobility: Democratic Politics and Pollution Control, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Series on Policy and Institutional Studies;
  • M. FitzSimmons, J. Glaser, R. Montemor, S. Pincetl and S.C. Rajan (1994) "Environmentalism and the liberal state," in Martin O'Connor: Is Capitalism Sustainable? Guilford Books.