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Solomon J Benjamin


Associate Professor
Room No.: HSB 330B
Phone : +91 (44) 2257 4548
Fax : +91 (44) 2257 4502

On leave from July 2017

Academic Background:

  • Ph.D. Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts – 1996
  • M.S. Arch. S. Master Science in Architectural Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Massachusetts – 1985
  • B.Arch. School of Planning and Architecture New Delhi – 1982

Academic Positions:

  • 2013 – Associate Professor, Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT-Madras
  • 2012-13 Fellow Lichtenberg Kolleg, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Göttingen, Germany (Nov. 2012-June 2013)
  • 2011-2012, Senior research associate with the French Institute Pondicherry (IFP)
  • 2009-2012 Professor of Architecture and Planning at the Manipal School of Architecture and Planning (MSAP) Manipal University
  • 2009 Associate Professor and Co-Chair, Urban Research and Policy Program, School of Social Sciences National Institute of Advanced Studies
  • 2006-2009: Assistant Professor, Inter-disciplinary hire for Urban Studies at the Dept. of Political Science University of Toronto, Canada.
  • 1998 to 2003: Visiting faculty at National Law School of India University, Bangalore: Course on Law and Urban Development.
  • 1991-1993: Teaching and Lectures on Housing and Land, as part of faculty at the Human Settlement Management Institute (HSMI), New Delhi
  • 1986-1989: Various lectures at MIT’s Department of Architecture and Planning’s graduate classes on Housing, Settlement Design, Third World Planning, Economy of Cities, Land development
  • 1985-86: School of Planning & Architecture: Visiting Faculty co-lead on course: Housing Dynamics

Academic Position with Internationally Refereed Journals:

  • Editorial board, Antipode (a journal of critical studies)

Reviewer for articles submitted to the International Journals:

  • International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR)
  • Antipode
  • Urban Studies
  • World Development

Doctoral Supervision and Review Committee

  • Guide for Doctoral Candidate Gajendran V, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Humanities and Social Sciences (2nd Year into the PhD) working on Sriperumbadure Special Economic Zones.
  • Committee member at University of British Columbia (UBC) Vancouver: Rohit Mazumdar (with Prof. Leonie Sandercock as chair and Prof. John Friedman as co-members)
  • External reader and examiner at JNU’s Centre for Political Studies, School of Social Sciences: Ms Shruti Duby (with Prof. Gopal Guru, and Prof. Rajarshi Dasgupta);
  • External reader at Univ. of Hyderabad’s Department of Sociology: Sudarshan P. (with Prof. K. Laxmi Narayana, Prof. G. Nancharaiah)


  • 2014 Forthcoming (in press and final technical edits) ‘Cities within and beyond the plan: re-reading Bangalore’s multiple contesting terrains’ chapter in City in South Asia (edt. Minoru Mio and Crispin Bates)
  • 2014 ‘Occupancy Urbanism as Political Practice’, Ch. 27 in S. Parnell and S. Oldfield (eds.) A Routledge Handbook on Cities of the Global South. London: Routledge
  • 2013 ‘Cities within and beyond the plan: re-reading Bangalore’s multiple contesting terrains’ chapter in City in South Asia (edt. Minoru Mio and Crispin Bates forthcoming volume)
  • 2012 ‘The Eleventh City: Practice As Politics’ in CYBERMOHALLA HUB Edited by
Nikolaus Hirsch and Shveta Sarda Sternberg Press Berlin.
  • 2011 (with Bhuvaneswari Raman) ‘Claiming Land: Rights, Contestations and the Urban Poor in Globalized times’ in Right to the City UNESCO – Most Policy Paper Series 2011 July
  • 2011 ‘Arguments for the Imperfect City’ in ‘The City as Studio’ (Edition 1) RAQs Cyber Mohalla Press. The book is available for free download as a PDF at the Sarai website. (www.sarai.net) July
  • 2011 (with Bhuvaneswari Raman) ‘Illegible Claims, Legal Titles, and the Worlding of Bangalore’ in Tiers Monde (Revue). Institut D’etude Du Developpement Economique Et Social De Paris. July
  • 2011 January ‘Commoning contests the ‘Urban Commons’: Some thoughts on the de–commoning of Bengaluru’ Section 4, Ch. 43 (P. 295 to 312) in Vocabulary of Commons Foundation for Ecological Security at WQ Judge Press, Bangalore, India.

…more on full CV


  • Jobs, land and urban development: The economic of success of small manufacturers in East Delhi, 1991 India. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Book Manuscripts under preparation: a) Neighborhood as Factory: How land embeds politics to shape most city economy, (under invitation, Routledge City Series India, (edt. Sujata Patel): b) Constructing Bangalore’s Poor: Politics, land, and Economy’ (with Raman B.,) (under invitation from Orient Blackswan, New Delhi)

Conferences / Workshop and Lectures:

  • 2014 Cities beyond the logic of the Plan: some reflections problematising ‘Informality’ at an international workshop Sept. 09 to Sept. 12, at the International Graduate Program Berlin – New York – Toronto Center for Metropolitan Studies TU Berlin.
  • 2014 “The Right to Occupy: An alternative view of Economy” Oral and Paper presentation in Session titled “Social Justice and the City in East Asia” and Chair of session: Territory Migration, Citizenship and Justice; both at the 7th East Asian Regional Conference in Alternative Geography (EARCAG) “The Right to Inhabit; the Asian Challenges” Osaka, Japan for 23-28 July 2014.
  • 2014 Spatializing contests over land and water via the frame of Legal Pluralism and Occupancy Urbanism March in ‘Governing Land and Water Resources The Demise of the Collective Voice’ Columbia’s Global Center South Asia & Center on Global Legal Transformation in Mumbai March
  • 2014 Re-embedding Economy in a Small Town Large Context in Subaltern Urbanization in India A Research Programme 2011-2014
  • 2013 Everyday Occupancies and the Practice of Social Justice In Social Justice, an international workshop organised by the Dept of Geography, Critical Geography Group, HKBU Hong Kong December
  • 2013 Occupied and Possessed Cities: Territoriality, Information, and Techno-Managerial Politics In The Social and Cultural Life of Information at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in Delhi November
  • 2013 June, Discussant and Session Chair at One Day International Workshop by the World Bank On Legal Issues Relating To Service Delivery In Informal Settlements, National Law School of India University, Bangalore, 25th June.
  • 2013 June, Discussant to papers by Sanjay Srivastava and Thomas Blom Hansen in “In the name of the ordinary” CeMIS workshop June 11-12, Göttingen, Germany.
  • 2013 June, ‘Periurbanization as a Political Project’ for a panel: ‘Informality, Irregular Settlements, Occupancy Urbanism’ in the conference, ‘The Politics Of Periurbanization in Asia’ held between June 7-9 at the University of British Colombia, Vancouver.
  • 2013 June ‘Urban Practice as Critical Theory’ in ‘Urban Practices, Legal Encounters: Intersects beyond the grid and the survey’ Urban Worlds Seminar Series by the Ligi – Comparative Urban Studies Network and the Asian Urbanisms Cluster at the Univ. of British Colombia, June 3rd 2013 (Panel: Solomon Benjamin, Indian Institute of Technology-Madras; Renisa Mawani, Department of Sociology, UBC, Nicholas Blomley, Simon Fraser University)


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