Steven Wilkinson Is Designated as the Inaugural Nilekani Professor

Steven I. Wilkinson, the inaugural Nilekani Professor of India and South Asian Studies, focuses much of his work on ethnic violence in India and South Asia.

His book “Votes and Violence: Electoral Competition and Ethnic Conflict in India,” was co-winner of the 2005 Woodrow Wilson Foundation award, given each year by the American Political Science Association for the best book on government, politics or international affairs published in the previous year. He also co-edited a book on clientelism titled “Patrons, Clients and Policies: Patterns of Democratic Accountability and Political Competition.” He is now working on a book about colonial legacies, which will examine why some colonies have done better than others (such as India versus Pakistan) since achieving independence.

Wilkinson is also working on a project with Stanford University economist Saumitra Jha to explain why some parts of India experienced much more violence than others during 1947 and 1948. He also intends to write a book about governance and state capacity. He is interested in what states like India and China can do about more corrupt and weakly governed areas in their countries that were “left behind” in the general march towards growth and modernization.

Wilkinson began teaching at Yale this fall. A native of Scotland, he earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Edinburgh, an M.A. at Duke and a Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He taught for seven years at Duke before moving in 2006 to the University of Chicago, where he served as chair of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies.

Active in policy discussions about South Asian issues, Wilkinson has presented his research findings both to the Prime Minister of India’s Sachar Committee on the status of the minority community and to members of the Administrative Reforms Committee in Delhi. He has also presented his work before U.S. government audiences, most recently at the Council on Foreign Relations after the Indian elections and at the U.S. State Department prior to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to India.

Nandan M. and Rohini Nilekani, who established the new professorship, are strong supporters of the Yale India Initiative, a broad interdisciplinary effort that will create new faculty positions and programs across the University, positioning Yale among the world’s pre-eminent institutions for the study of and engagement with India and South Asia. The Nilekani Professorship provides resources for a senior professor whose work focuses on India and South Asia.

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