The CityLabs Conversation series is an attempt to understand our cities better from the lens of allied disciplines. In this conversation that Prof. Pratyush Shankar (Dean, School of Environmental Design and Architecture, Navrachana University, Vadodara) had with Prof. Christophe Jaffrelot (Senior Researcher, Sciences Po, Paris), a range of topics such as, different research traditions in urban studies, ghettoisation in India cities, the question of public places or the role of Sufism in creating a release (a neutral space) in an Indian city that is essentially a "mosaic", are discussed at length.

Prof. Christophe Jaffrelot

15th March 2021


Prof. Christophe Jaffrelot

Christophe Jaffrelot is a CERI-CNRS Senior Research Fellow who teaches at Sciences Po in three different schools. He was elected president of the French Association of Political Science (AFSP) in July 2020.


He is the senior editor of a CERI-Sciences Po book series, Comparative Politics and International Studies, published by Hurst (London) and Oxford University Press (New York). He has been the editor-in-chief of Critique internationale (1998-2003) and then his director (2003-2008). 


His current research deals with the sociology of the Indian political personnel (including the Members of Parliament and the Members of the Legislative Assemblies), the Dargahs of Ajmer, the India-Pakistan relations, the political history of Gujarat (from the point of view of the relations between politicians and businessmen in particular) and populist politics.


Few of his publications include India’s First Dictatorship. The Emergency, 1975-77;Majoritarian State. How Hindu Nationalism is Changing India; Hindu nationalism: A reader; Religion, caste, and politics in India and more. He has been a regular columnist for the Indian Express.


"...the landscape is not a physical innate category but a strong cultural construct of societies. The perception and modification of either man-made or seemingly natural is an interlinked phenomenon. The representation of a landscape in historic and contemporary discourses is as important as the physicality of the landscape itself..."

-Landscape as an Image, from Chapter 1: Himalayas: The Landscape of the Mind. 

"...the centre is not a naturally outgrown emergent core but the result of a conscious effort to demarcate a flat piece of land, position centralized institutions of public importance, modify the natural conditions of water flows and create new connections of movement. These city centers  are conscious efforts that represent the human will and ingenuity in an inhospitable terrain...."

- New Landscape: Idea of a Centre, Endnote.