Prof. Sudhir Chella Rajan

Sudhir Chella Rajan, Senior Fellow at the Boston University Institute for Global Sustainability, is a Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Madras. Previously, he was Senior Fellow at the Tellus Institute in Boston, MA. He has a generalist’s research career at the interface of environmental studies and politics, with a special focus on climate justice, understood in broad terms as involving energy and resource equity, local and regional adaptive governance to deter elite domination, and inter-generational guarantees for eco-social flourishing.

Rajan’s training is interdisciplinary, spanning engineering and atmospheric science followed by social and political theory, spatial science, and fieldwork in energy, transportation, and land-use. His recent book is A Social Theory of Corruption (HUP 2020), which is a historically located argument about the relationship between elite capture and long-term social structures and their resulting ways of living. He has authored other books on automobility (the edifice that makes driving possible) and finding sensible solutions for the climate catastrophe. He is currently preparing a manuscript to serve as an introduction to the vast landscape of climate justice for activists, scholars, and the general public.

Other research includes work on air pollution modeling, atmospheric and climate modeling, automobile maintenance regimes, ‘climate refugees,’ electricity reforms and sustainable development policy, renewable hydrogen life-cycle analysis, the politics of the resource curse, institutional reform, social change in the transportation sector, and a social theory of corruption.

More than continuing individual research and collaborative projects, Rajan is interested in serving on committees, reviewing proposals, and reporting on climate justice initiatives, again understood in the sense above. He is currently exploring practical ways of debating and realizing climate justice goals at two scales; the periurban or bioregional and the inter-governmental or planetary.