Faculty Steering Committee

Chair, Faculty Steering Committee, Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai; Meyer Feldberg Professor of Business, Columbia Business School

Gita Johar (PhD: NYU; MBA: Indian Institute of Management) has been on the faculty of Columbia Business School since 1992 and is currently the Meyer Feldberg Professor of Business. Professor Johar's expertise lies in consumer psychology, focusing on how consumers react to marketing efforts, especially advertising, promotions and sponsorship. She also examines the influence of consumer self-control and perceptions of control on decision making and consumption. This research has implications for the design of effective communication strategies. She has published several influential articles in the areas of consumer persuasion and decision making in leading marketing journals such as the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Advertising, Journal of Experimental Psychology, Psychological Science and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Professor Johar currently serves as the Associate Editor of two major journals in her field, the Journal of Marketing Research and the Journal of Consumer Researchand sits on the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Consumer Psychology. She served as co-chair of the 2010Association for Consumer Research conference. Professor Johar teaches courses on Advertising and Branding, Global Marketing Consulting for Social Enterprise, Research Methods, and Consumer Behavior to MBA, Executive MBA and PhD students.

Associate Professor of Professional Practice in Architecture, Barnard College

Kadambari Baxi, Associate Professor of Professional Practice in Architecture, has been on the Barnard faculty since 2005. At Barnard and Columbia, she teaches architectural design studios, senior seminars and special topics seminars.

Professor Baxi is an architect and media designer, a partner at Martin/Baxi Architects, and a principal of imageMachine — media design firm specializing in work for nonprofits. Her projects have been exhibited at Cooper Hewitt Museum, Henry Urbach Architecture, and Artists Space in New York, and internationally at Disonancias in Spain, and Landesmuseum in Austria.

Professor Baxi serves on the board of the Van Alen Institute for Public Architecture.

Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy; Faculty member of the Committee on Global Thought

Akeel Bilgrami got a first degree in English Literature from Bombay University but defected to philosophy because he found the former too hard. He went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and there got another Bachelor's degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, after writing a dissertation, "Meaning as Invariance," on the subject of the indeterminacy of translation and issues concerning realism and linguistic meaning. He joined the Department in 1985 after spending two years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Professor Bilgrami has two relatively independent sets of intellectual interests--in the Philosophy of Mind and Language, and in Political Philosophy and Moral Psychology especially as they surface in politics, history, and culture.

In the former, he has published a book in 1992 called Belief and Meaning (Blackwell) and another book published in 2006 called Self Knowledge and Resentment (Harvard University Press). He is presently working on a book on the relations between agency and practical reason.

His book of selected essays on the moral psychology of politics entitled Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment will be published by Harvard University Press in February 2014.  He is also contracted to publish two small books in the very near future, one called What is a Muslim? (Princeton University Press) and another on Gandhi's philosophy, situating Gandhi's thought in seventeenth century dissent in England and Europe and more broadly within the Radical Enlightenment and the radical strand in the Romantic tradition (Columbia University Press).

He teaches courses and seminars regularly in the department on Philosophy of Mind and Language and also in the Committee on Global Thought and Political Science on issues in Politics and Rationality as well as Religion and Politics in a Global Context.

Professor Bilgrami was the Chairman of the Philosophy Department from 1994-98 and the Director of the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University from 2004-2011.

Professor of Measurement, Evaluation & Education, Teachers College; Director, Assessment and Evaluation Research Initiative at Teachers College, Columbia University

Madhabi Chatterji is professor of measurement, evaluation, and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she founded and is the director of the Assessment and Evaluation Research Initiative, a center dedicated to promoting meaningful use of assessment and evaluation information, internationally and across disciplines. She received her Ph.D. from the University of South Florida.

Professor Chatterji's research and teaching interests lie broadly in assessment-evaluation methodology. Specifically, her work has focused on instrument design, construct validation and validity issues; evidence standards and the evidence debate; a diagnostic model of classroom assessment; and assessment policy issues in K-12 education, health and psychology, including the topics of educational equity and standards based reforms.

Madhabi was named a Fulbright Research Scholar (2008) to study issues of gender equity and quality of primary schooling in government schools in West Bengal, India and Bangladesh. She also received an Outstanding Publication Award from the American Educational Research Association (2004) and a Distinguished Paper Award from the Florida Educational Research Association (1993) for her research publications on systems-based, mixed methods approaches to evidence-gathering and use, and complementary use of multiple measurement models for validating construct measures.

In educational assessment, Madhabi’s recent publications include the book, "Validity and test use: An international dialogue on educational assessment, accountability and equity" (2013, Emerald Group Publishing); a special issue of the Teachers College Record (Volume 115, No. 9, 2013) and two special issues of Quality Assurance in Education (Volume 22, Nos. 1 and 4, 2014) that she guest-edited; and a co-facilitated blog for Education Week on assessment policy issues in 2014. Her most recent publication on evidence standards is “L.E.A.D.: A framework for evidence gathering and use for the prevention of obesity and other complex public health problems” in Health Education & Behavior (2014).

Madhabi has served on several national and international panels and editorial advisory boards over time, including the Educational Researcher, Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, and an expert consensus committee on evidence frameworks for decision-making in obesity prevention at the Institute of Medicine, now the National Academy of Medicine. She is a Fellow at the National Educational Policy Center since 2006, and starting in 2016, will serve as the co-editor of Quality Assurance in Education. This is her second term as a member of the Faculty Steering Committee of the Columbia Global Centers | South Asia.

Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology

Ruth DeFries’ research examines human transformation of the landscape and its consequences for climate, biogeochemical cycling, biodiversity, and other ecosystem services that make our planet habitable.  The work is based on the premise that land use change involves tradeoffs between human necessities such as food and unintended environmental consequences such as greenhouse gas emissions and habitat loss.  A particular focus is tropical deforestation and its impacts on atmospheric carbon emissions and conservation.  The research analyzes land use changes over broad scales through the lens of satellite observations.  She is actively involved in linking scientific information into policy decisions.

Special Advisor for Global Affairs, Professor of Professional Practice in the Faculty of International and Public Affairs

Prior to joining the Columbia faculty on January 1, 2013, Vishakha Desai spent 22 years at the Asia Society, an educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships in Asia and the United States, the last eight years as its president. She steered the organization to significant growth in its education, art, business and public policy programs, including the establishment of a Center on U.S.-China Relations and major new facilities in Houston, Hong Kong, South Korea and India. Asia Society’s global reach now includes a presence in 11 cities in Asia and the U.S.

A visiting professor at Columbia in 1995-96, Desai has taught at Princeton University, Williams College, Boston University, College of Charleston and the University of Massachusetts, Boston. In addition to early work in education and public programs at the Brooklyn Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art, she was assistant curator of Indian, Southeast Asian and Islamic Collections at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. She has published catalogs of major exhibitions and holds five honorary degrees.

Born in India, Desai received her B.A. in political science from Bombay University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from the University of Michigan. She joins a group of scholars and administrators at Columbia focused on enhancing faculty research and student learning that cut across traditional academic boundaries and national borders—both on its home campus in New York and at recently established Columbia Global Centers around the world.

Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health

Lynn P. Freedman is the director of the Averting Maternal Death and Disability (AMDD) Program and of the Law and Policy Project, both in the Mailman School's Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health. Before joining the faculty at Columbia University in 1990, she worked as a practicing attorney in New York City. Professor Freedman has been a leading figure in the field of health and human rights, working extensively with women's groups and human rights NGOs internationally. She has published widely on issues of health and human rights, with a particular focus on gender and women's health. She is currently serving as a senior adviser to the UN Millennium Project Task Force on Child Health and Maternal Health and is the lead author of the Task Force's Final Report "Who's Got the Power: Transforming Health Systems for Women and Children."

Alan & Carol Silberstein Professor of Engineering

Upmanu Lall is a leading expert on hydroclimatology, climate change adaptation, risk analysis and mitigation. His research has emphasized hydrology, water resource systems analysis, operations research and stochastic processes with applications to flood/drought risk and uncertainty assessment and the design and operation of water systems. He has pioneered the application of techniques from (a) nonlinear dynamical systems, (b) nonparametric methods of function estimation and their application to spatio-temporal dynamical systems, and (c) the study of multi-scale climate variability and change as an integral component of hydrologic systems.

As new knowledge was created in these areas, he has focused on its application to water resources management through innovation in adaptive or dynamic risk management methods that can use information on the structure of climate for simulation or forecasting. Recently, he has become concerned with the issue of global and regional water sustainability, and the more general issue of modeling and managing planetary change due to coupled human and natural dynamics. He is developing technical and policy tools for the projection and management of environmental change as part of a quantitative approach to sustainability of earth systems.

Associate Professor of Architecture, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Reinhold Martin is Associate Professor of Architecture in Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, where he also directs the Ph.D. program in architectural history and theory. He has written widely on the history and theory of modern and contemporary architecture and has maintained a research practice with his partner, Kadambari Baxi. His publications include The Organizational Complex: Architecture. Media, and Corporate Space (MIT, 2003), Multi-National City: Architectural Itineraries (with Kadambari Baxi, Actar, 2007), and Utopia's Ghost: Architecture and Postmodernism, Again (Minnesota, forthcoming 2010). He is also a founding co-editor of the interdisciplinary journal Grey Room. Martin's current work focuses on the architectural and cultural history of the American university since the eighteenth century.

Associate Professor of History, Barnard College

Anupama Rao, associate professor, has research and teaching interests in the history of anti-colonialism; gender and sexuality studies; caste and race; historical anthropology, social theory, and colonial genealogies of human rights and humanitarianism. Her book, The Caste Question (University of California Press, 2009) theorizes caste subalternity, with specific focus on the role of anti-caste thought (and its thinkers) in producing alternative genealogies of political subject-formation through the vernacularization of political universals. She has also written on the themes of colonialism and humanitarianism, and on non-Western histories of gender and sexuality. Recent publications include: Discipline and the Other Body (Duke University Press, 2006); "Death of a Kotwal: Injury and the Politics of Recognition," Subaltern Studies XII; Violence, Vulnerability and Embodiment (co-editor, special issues of Gender and History, 2004), and Gender and Caste: Issues in Indian Feminism (Kali for Women, 2003).

Professor Rao is currently working on a project titled Dalit Bombay, on the relationship between caste, political culture, and everyday life in colonial and postcolonial Bombay. Rao received her BA, with honors, from the University of Chicago, and her Ph.D. from the interdepartmental program in anthropology and history at the University of Michigan. She currently serves as Director of Graduate Studies, Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia. She is co-convenor (with Saidiya Hartman and Neferti Tadiar) of a project on “Subaltern Urbanism,” supported by the Heyman Center for the Humanities, and by the project on “Women Creating Change,” hosted by Columbia’s Center for the Study of Social Difference.

Senior Development Advisor, Center for Sustainable Development, The Earth Institute at Columbia University

Nirupam Bajpai is senior development advisor, Center for Sustainable DevelopmentThe Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York. He is also a Member of the Scientific Committee of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the U.N. Millennium Project on the Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed goals to reduce extreme poverty, disease, and hunger by the year 2015. Between July 2010 and August 2014, he served as the founding director of the Columbia Global Centers | South Asia.

Over the last two decades, he has been working at different U.S. universities beginning at the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1992; Harvard University from 1995 to 2002 and since July 2002 at Columbia University. Prior to his arrival at Columbia, Bajpai worked for seven years at Harvard University, most recently at the Kennedy School of Government’s Center for International Development including leading the Harvard India Program and prior to that at the Harvard Institute for International Development, Harvard University. During this period, he also worked at MIT's Media Lab Asia as a Senior Fellow.

A macroeconomist by training, Bajpai’ s research interests include the links of health and development, economic geography, globalization, emerging markets, economic development and growth, global competitiveness, and macroeconomic policies in developing and developed countries. His work focuses on economic policy reform in India, China, sub-Saharan Africa and the South and East Asian regions. Currently, he is an Associate Editor of the journal Asian Economic Papers, published by MIT Press and is also on the Editorial Board of the journal Economic Change and Restructuring published by Springer.

Bajpai is considered to be a leading economic advisor of his generation. For almost two decades, he has been studying the challenges of economic development, poverty alleviation, and globalization and advising governments, including working towards combining economic development with environmental sustainability to promote the mitigation of anthropogenic climate change.

Since October 1999, Bajpai has had the high honor and privilege of continuously advising three Prime Ministers of India, beginning with the Honorable Atal Bihari Vajpayee from 1999-2004; then advising the Honorable Manmohan Singh from 2004-2014 and currently to the Honorable Narendra Modi. Cutting across party lines, this is a very rare distinction for Dr. Bajpai. He has also advised several cabinet ministers of the NDA and UPA governments, including the Ministers of Health and Family Welfare, Finance, Commerce and Industry, and Information Technology among others.

On a request from the Government of Gujarat, between 2003-05, Bajpai led a team of social and physical scientists of Columbia University to conduct research and advise the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi and the officials of the State Government of Gujarat on a variety of issues relating to the sustainable development of the State.

Additionally, on a request from the Planning Commission of India, Bajpai led a teams of social scientists to undertake policy-oriented research for the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh on "Scaling up Services in Rural India" wherein project teams worked with Rural Communities in India.

Bajpai serves on the advisory Board of the World Economic Development Congress based in New York and is a leading Asia specialist for the Asian Economic Panel and the National Bureau of Asian Research.

He is widely published and is the author or co-author of dozens of scholarly articles on a variety of issues relating to economic reforms in developing countries. He has written extensively on macroeconomic policy and management focusing on fiscal policy, and on the role of trade and foreign direct investment policies on growth and development. He co-edited a volume entitled “India in the Era of Economic Reforms” along with Jeffrey Sachs and Ashutosh Varshney published by Oxford University Press. In 2010, he co-authored a volume entitled “Improving Access and Efficiency in Public Health Services” along with Jeffrey Sachs and Ravindra Dholakia published by Sage Publications.

Bajpai is the recipient of several honors and awards. On the eve of India’s 59th Republic Day on January 25, 2008, Bajpai was awarded the Padma Shri by the President of India, which is a civilian national honor bestowed by the Government of India. In the category of ‘Literature and Education’, Bajpai is the youngest awardee of the Padma Shri ever since the Padma Awards were instituted in 1954 having been conferred the award at the age of 45. 

Additional work by Bajpai:  Stategic Advising to Policymakers in India Working Papers and ReportsSelected Articles in Newspapers and Magazines Research Papers, Magazine Articles & Newspaper Op-eds with Jeffrey Sachs (1996-2011)

Chase Manhattan Bank Professor of Economics and Finance

Suresh Sundaresan is the Chase Manhattan Bank Professor of Economics and Finance at Columbia University. He has published in the areas of Treasury auctions, bidding, default risk, habit formation, term structure of interest rates, asset pricing, investment theory, pension asset allocation, swaps, options, forwards, futures, fixed-income securities markets and risk management. His research papers have appeared in major journals such as the Journal of Finance, Review of Financial Studies, Journal of Business, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, European Economic Review, Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of Political Economy, etc. He has also contributed articles in Financial Times, and World Bank Conferences. He is an associate editor of Journal of Finance and Review of Derivatives Research. His current research focus is on default risk and how its affects asset pricing and sovereign debt securities. He has worked as a senior strategist at Lehman Brothers in their Fixed Income Division during 1986-1987. He has consulted full time for Morgan Stanley Asset Management during 2000-2001. His consulting work focuses on term structure models, swap pricing models, credit risk models, valuation, and risk management. He has conducted training programs for leading investment banks including, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, CSFB and Lehman Brothers. He is the author of the text Fixed-Income Markets and Their Derivatives. He has served on the Treasury Bond Markets Advisory Committee. He was the resident scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York during 2006.

Sundaresan has testified before the United States Congress on the transparency of Corporate Bond Markets. His current research work focuses on corporate bankruptcy, design of bankruptcy code, the role of collateral in interest rate swaps, and the role of central bank in providing liquidity to private capital markets. More recently, he has been working on micro-lending with a view to characterizing defaults, recovery rates, and interest rates in micro-loans. The research attempts to characterize the efforts that are needed to lower the borrowing rates. Another ongoing project explores whether the duration of the borrowing relationship has led to an improvement of borrower's welfare. At Columbia University, he is responsible for teaching two MBA elective courses: Debt Markets, and Advanced Derivatives. He has trained MBA and PhD students, who currently serve on the faculty at universities in the United States and abroad as well as in senior positions in major investment banks around the world.

Assistant Professor, Modern South Asian

Debashree Mukherjee’s research and teaching centers on the history of modern South Asian visual cultures and industries, with a specialized focus on late colonial Bombay cinema. She received her Ph.D in Cinema Studies (2015) from New York University, and holds an M.Phil degree in Cinema Studies (2009) from the School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, an M.A in Mass Communication (2004) from Jamia Millia Islamia University, and a B.A. in Literature from Delhi University. Dr. Mukherjee draws her methodological inspirations from feminist film historiography, archival studies, media archaeology, and transnational studies. Her interests lie in film historiographic method, cultural labor, mediated urbanisms, visual technologies, and emerging cinematic practices. She has published in a variety of academic journals and anthologies on topics such as the historiographic productivity of scandal narratives in recuperating women’s film histories; and the emergence of film journalism as a public discourse linking nationalism, stardom, and aspirational modern subjectivities. Her research has been funded by fellowships from the Charles Wallace India Trust, the American Institute for Indian Studies, and NYU’s Corrigan, Mainzer and Andrew Sauter grants.

Trained as a filmmaker, Dr. Mukherjee worked in the Bombay film industry from 2004-2007, on films such as Omkara (d. Vishal Bhardwaj, 2006). During this period she was also engaged in an ethnographic research project on cultures of contemporary film production initiated by Sarai-Center for the Study of Developing Societies (New Delhi). She brings her knowledge of film production, aesthetics, ethnography, and archival work to her current book project which presents a new cultural history of early Bombay cinema (1920s-1940s) by privileging cinematic practices and circuits of cultural work. Parallel projects include a cultural history of the left in late colonial Bombay; a transnational, comparative history of early cinematic cultures; experimental video practice in contemporary India; and digital humanities initiatives such as the indiancine.ma online annotation platform.

Debashree curated an exhibition of Indian film ephemera in 2013, titled Maya Mahal. She is currently an Editor with the peer-reviewed journal BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies, and will foresee the journal’s forthcoming reviews section.