2018 Best Book in Urban Affairs Award

Nikhil AnandThe Urban Affairs Association (UAA), the international professional association for urban scholars, researchers and public service professionals, convened its 48th Annual Conference in Toronto, Ontario, April 4-7, 2018. More than 1,000 participants, representing universities, research institutions, non-profit organizations, and public and private organizations/institutions from around the world met to discuss 21st century issues impacting urban populations and places. Conference participants represented institutions from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The University of Toronto, York University, and Ryerson University served as the local sponsors for the event.

During the conference, awards were presented in recognition of outstanding scholarship and service. Among those honored was Nikhil Anand (University of Pennsylvania). Anand was awarded the 2018 Best Book in Urban Affairs Award for Hydraulic City: Water and Infrastructures of Citizenship in Mumbai. Fifty-seven books were nominated for the Best Book in Urban Affairs Award this year. The authors of these books represented several different disciplines and a variety of urban topics.

Award Committee Assessment:

The award committee announces Nikhil Anand’s book Hydraulic City: Water and the Infrastructures of Citizenship in Mumbai as the winner of the Urban Affairs Association Best Book in Urban Affairs Award 2018. Drawing from years of ethnographic research, Anand’s work presents a compelling and accessibly written account of how new forms of citizenship emerge from negotiations among slum residents, politicians, state bureaucracies, NGOs, and engineers over access to water. Anand’s concept of “hydraulic citizenship” will engage scholars of the urban condition well beyond Mumbai and the author’s home field of anthropology. Anand’s book is exemplary of the Urban Affairs Association’s commitment to rigorous research capable of providing insights to a truly interdisciplinary, international scholarly community.

Award Committee:

Thomas Skuzinski, Committee Chair (Virginia Tech), Amanda Ashley (Boise State University), Xuefei Ren (Michigan State University). And Michael Emerson (North Park University)

Award Winner:

Nikhil Anand is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the political ecology of cities, theorized through the different lives of water. His first book, Hydraulic City focuses on the everyday ways in which cities and citizens are made through the everyday management of water infrastructure in Mumbai. Articles based on this research have also been published in Antipode, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnography and Public Culture. With Hannah Appel and Akhil Gupta, Dr. Anand is co-editor of a forthcoming volume, The Promise of Infrastructure (forthcoming in August 2018 with Duke University Press), that focuses on the ways in which infrastructure provides a generative ground to theorize time and politics. His new research attends to the ways in which urban rivers and seas are key sites for the making and management of difference in India and the United States. Dr. Anand has a Masters in Environmental Science from Yale University and a PhD in Anthropology from Stanford University.


The Urban Affairs Association (UAA) is the international professional organization for urban scholars, researchers, and public service providers. UAA is dedicated to creating interdisciplinary spaces for engaging in intellectual and practical discussions about urban life. Through theoretical, empirical, and action-oriented research, the UAA fosters diverse activities to understand and shape a more just and equitable urban world. UAA sponsors the Journal of Urban Affairs, a refereed annual journal, publishing manuscripts related to urban research and policy analysis of interest to both scholars and practitioners. UAA also sponsors Upsilon Sigma – The Urban Studies Honor Society, an international, multidisciplinary honor society dedicated to recognizing and encouraging excellence in scholarship, leadership, and engagement in urban studies and related fields. The Urban Affairs Association hosts a conference each spring in an urban center. The conference program features both topics of institutional concern and those related to urban issues.



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