Ayan Meer

Ayan Meer is a writer and translator, whose interests at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies & Planning and at the Urban Theory Lab revolve around the social and environmental transformations brought about by global capital mobility. His current research explores the migration of agricultural workers from India to Southern Europe, and its entanglement with the global political economy of real estate and territorial development in the subcontinent. His ethnographic work with migrant laborers in the Pontine Marshes, Italy, has also led Ayan to research the urban legacies of infrastructural development in that region during the fascist regime, and their influence on Italian settler colonialism in North Africa. Previously, Ayan has worked extensively on urbanization in India, including on the discursive and material realities around “smart” urbanism in India, and its relationship to the post-independence modernist developmental state.

Ayan received a Master of Science with distinction from the Geography department at the London School of Economics, a Bachelor of Arts from Sciences Po Paris, and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the Sorbonne University-Paris IV. He is the recipient of the MIT Presidential Fellowship (2017), and of the Lloyd and Nadine Rodwin Award (2018). Before coming to Cambridge, he worked as a researcher at the Centre for Policy Research and at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements in New Delhi, India. His articles and translations have been featured in New Politics, Tehelka, and Verso, among others.


Ayan on top of the minaret at Jama Masjid, Delhi.