Dr. Asher Ghertner is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA. He served as the Director of the South Asian Studies Program at Rutgers for seven years, and is a broadly trained human geographer interested in the technologies and tactics through which mass displacement is conceived, justified, and enacted.
His first book, Rule by Aesthetics: World-Class City Making in Delhi (Oxford, 2015) was based on extended fieldwork among residents of informal settlements facing persistent eviction threats in Delhi. It used their legal, political, and geographical struggles to show how aesthetic norms can replace the procedures of mapping and surveying typically considered necessary to govern space. His co-edited book Futureproof: Security Aesthetics and the Management of Life (Duke, 2020) examined security as a sensory domain shaped by image and emotion as much as rationalities and rules. More recently, Land Fictions: The Commodification of Land in City and Country (Cornell, 2021), co-edited with Robert Lake, considered the role of narrative and fiction in transforming land as a socially and ecologically embedded relation into a commodity to be bought and sold. His publications on gentrification, property, and environmental crisis have appeared in wide-ranging interdisciplinary, planning, and geography journals, including Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Economy and Society, positions: asia critique, and Public Culture.
He is Editor of Environment and Planning D: Society & Space, and is a 2023–24 Fulbright–Nehru Professional and Academic Excellence Fellow, affiliated with Humanities and Social Sciences at BITS Pilani, K K Birla Goa Campus, where he is studying how digital technologies are transforming the mechanisms of property administration and the meanings of land in India.