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Department of Social Anthropology



The anthropology of love, intimacy and care, kinship, gender, subjectivity, sexuality, agency, the history and present of “love-marriage” in India, marriage and marriageability, legal anthropology, care proceedings, Dalit identity and caste, migration, South Asia.

My work has centred around the anthropology of kinship – starting with archival research on those that faced outcaste-ing or excommunication through marriages based on love in colonial India to a study of changing marriage forms from the colonial era to the present – especially a comprehensive account of the colonial debates around the enactment of the first law for civil marriage in India, Act III of 1872, or the pre-cursor of today’s Special Marriage Act (1954, 1972).  The law that allowed inter-caste and intercommunity marriage was considered “special” for numerous reasons, and I studied its everyday life through an ethnography of people coming to the court seeking to marry in the largest district court in South Asia – Tis Hazari in Delhi.  The resulting study, The Intimate State: Love-Marriage & the Law in Delhi was published by Routledge, Delhi and has a forward by Veena Das.  Rejecting the earlier anthropological emphasis on caste-based marriages and studies in which people conformed to the social rules set by caste and ethno-religious community, my work attempted to take seriously and actively privilege the ethnographic study of love-marriage from the perspective of the couples who so marry.  In more recent years, I have written about the only group to have taken a radical stand in support of love-marriage couples in India – the Love Commandos, as well as exploring legal challenges to “out-marriage” and the rights of individuals (especially women) to retain religious identities despite marriage across ethno-religious and caste divides in India (see 2013 Love Jurisdiction).

More recently, I have been working on a project on the phenomenon known as “forced marriage” in the UK, with those who have survived such marriages, and with gay and lesbian South Asians who have sought to circumvent such marriages through marriages of convenience (see 2013, Marriages of Convenience and Capitulation: South Asian Marriage, Family and Intimacy in the Diaspora).  I have also worked with agencies that have been committed to eliminate these marriages through legal initiatives, rolling out a new law that criminalises “forced marriage” in England and Wales.  In particular, I have been interested in the relationships between women who have been forced into such marriages and their natal families and how relations of care evolve through time.  Marriage: Rights and Rites (2015, co-edited with Miles & Probert), features my work on “forced marriage” in the UK.  I am also finishing a book on “forced marriage” and kinship to be published by the Berghahn.

I have taught the anthropology of kinship at Cambridge since 2008.  In the same year, I began work on setting up a new and exciting course on care that sought to bring new developments in the anthropological literature on care into conversation with older debates in kinship & gender.  That teaching project has continued to grow and I currently teach and co-ordinate an undergraduate and MPhil course in the Department of Social Anthropology on the subject of care (SAN13 Gender, Kinship & Care).  This has also served as an impetus for an international and interdisciplinary workshop and book to be published in 2019 called Spaces of Care (co-edited with Gelsthorpe & Sloan).

I am a Fellow and Director of Studies in Social Anthropology at King’s College and was formerly Senior Tutor of the College. My first degree was reading Social Anthropology followed by a PhD (both at Trinity College, Cambridge).  Prior to this I was educated at the United World College of the Atlantic (Wales).

I am on the Managing Committee of the Cambridge Socio-Legal Group; and have two ongoing projects on the politics of intimacy and love, and on the anthropology of care.


Key publications: 


2020 Spaces of Care, Loraine Gelsthorpe, Perveez Mody & Brian Sloan (eds). Oxford: Hart

2015 Marriage Rites and Rights, Joanna Miles, Perveez Mody & Rebecca Probert.  Oxford: Hart (Foreword by Dr. Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury)

2008 The Intimate State: Love-Marriage and The Law in Delhi, Routledge: Delhi/ London.  In Critical Asian Studies Series, edited by Prof. Veena Das.

Articles and Book Chapters:

2020.  “Kinship Care” in Spaces of Care, Loraine Gelsthorpe, Perveez Mody & Brian Sloan (eds), Oxford: Hart, Chapter 10, pp. 183-199.

2020.  “Introduction: Concepts, Configurations and Challenges”,  Gelsthorpe, Mody & Sloan in  Spaces of Care, Oxford: Hart, pp. 1-13.

[2020.] “Care and Resistance” in Unsettling Anthropologies of Care – Special Issue in Anthropology & Humanism, Cook, J. & Trundle, C. (eds), Dec. 2020

2019    “Contemporary Intimacies” in Critical Themes in Indian Sociology edited by Sanjay Srivastava, Yasmeen Arif and Janaki Abraham.  Commemorative volume to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the journal founded by Louis Dumont, Contributions to Indian Sociology, New Delhi/London: Sage Publications, pp. 257-266.

2015 “Forced Marriage: Rites and Rights” in Marriage Rites and Rights, Joanna Miles, Perveez Mody & Rebecca Probert. Oxford: Hart

2015 “Marriage.” In James D. Wright (editor-in-chief), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, Vol 14. Oxford: Elsevier. pp. 599–604.

2015 “Introduction” (Probert, Miles and Mody) in Marriage Rites and Rights.  Oxford: Hart

2013 "Marriages of Convenience and Capitulation: South Asian Marriage, Family and Intimacy in the Diaspora" in Chatterji, Joya & David Washbrook, Handbook of the South Asian Diaspora. London: Routledge

2013 “Love Jurisdiction” in Cambridge Anthropology, Volume 31, Number 2, Autumn 2013 , pp. 44-59 (16)

2011 “The anthropological fixation with reciprocity leaves no room for love: 2009 meeting of GDAT (Group for Debates in Anthropological Theory) in Venkatesan, S., Jeanette Edwards, Rane Willerslev, Elizabeth Povinelli, and Perveez Mody, Critique of Anthropology September 2011 31: 210-250

2006 “Kidnapping, Elopement and Abduction: an ethnography of love-marriage in Delhi,” in Orsini, F. (ed.), Love in South Asia: A Cultural History, pp. 331-334, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

2002 “Love & the Law: Love-Marriage in Delhi”, Modern Asian Studies, 36, 1, pp. 223-256, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

March 2020 (Volume 93, No. 1)  Film Review of "A Suitable Girl" Directed by Sarita Khurana & Smriti Mundhra. Portland, OR: Collective Films 2018. In Pacific Affairs Book Reviews.  

Teaching and Supervisions


Part I: SAN1: Social Anthropology: The Comparative Perspective – Lecture series “Kinship, Love & Care”

SAN2 The Foundations of Social Life: Anthropology and Kinship

SAN3 Schools and Styles: Gender & Feminism, World Theory - Ambedkar

SAN4: Ethnographic Areas: South Asia

SAN13 Gender, Kinship & Care: (Paper co-ordinator for Gender, Kinship & Care), Globalised Kinship and Intimate Care

MPhil Paper 1: Production and Reproduction (Paper co-ordinator for MPhil MP1 Paper): Anthropology and Kinship Lectures and MPhil Kinship Seminars

MRes and PhD Ethnographic Methods Seminars: Participant Observation

MRes and PhD Pre-Field Seminars: Anthropology & Social Theory

MRes & PhD: Anthropological Lives – Verrier Elwin

Senior Lecturer
Director of Undergraduate Education, Department of Social Anthropology
Chair, Undergraduate Education Committee
Fellow & Director of Studies in Social Anthropology, King's College
Office hours: appointment by email
Dr Perveez  Mody

Contact Details

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Takes PhD students