Dr Ranganathan is a critical geographer and political ecologist with an interest in urban environmental justice in both the South and North. Her research focuses on water and land in the city of Bangalore/Bengaluru in India. Specifically, she uses ethnographic and archival research to show how historical housing inequalities, widespread informality, and new patterns of development aid and global investment have provided the context for citizen mobilizations around infrastructure, ecology, and space. Recently, she was awarded a 2017-2019 American Council of Learned Societies-Andrew W. Mellon Foundation humanities grant to co-write a book, tentatively titled Corruption Plots, Imagined Publics: The Ethics of Space in the Millennial City, on the stories and imaginaries exposing real estate “corruption”, land grabs, and widening inequality in global cities. Dr Ranganathan also investigates urban inequality in America. To that end, she is researching racism in the built environment and the prospects for climate justice in Washington, DC, and has written on US urban and environmental history through an anti-racist lens. In her research and teaching, she draws on urban, postcolonial, and critical race theory.
Her research is published in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Capitalism Nature Socialism, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Urban Geography, Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, and Water Alternatives among other journals. Her writing also appears on academic blogs such as Society and Space and Black Perspectives, and in numerous edited books. Previously, Dr Ranganathan was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Geography at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and has had research positions at TERI in New Delhi, ENDA-Tiers Monde in Dakar, and the Asian Development Bank in Manila. At SIS, Dr Ranganathan teaches SISU 250 (Environmental Sustainability and Global Health), SISU 349 (Global Cities, Justice, and the Environment), and SIS 620 (Urban Political Ecology).