Professor Chris Fuller

Professor Chris Fuller

Professor Emeritus

Department of Anthropology

About me

Professor Chris Fuller specialises in India. His first fieldwork (1971-2) was in Kerala in southwest India among the Nayars and the Syrian Christians, and his work particularly focused on kinship among the Nayars, famous for their matriliny. In 1976, Fuller started field research in the great temple of Madurai in Tamilnadu, southeast India, which is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Minakshi. During the next twenty-five years, he periodically visited the temple to study the priests, whose lives changed radically during that time, although he also did extensive research on the temple's highly elaborate ritual cycle. From 2003-5, with other colleagues in LSE, Fuller worked on a major research project, sponsored by ESRC, on regionalism, nationalism and globalisation in India, and his research has focused on middle-class company managers and software professionals in the city of Chennai (Madras). From 2005-8, with Haripriya Narasimhan, he carried out an ESRC-sponsored research project on a group of Tamil Brahmans, focusing on this traditional elite's modern transformation into a migratory, urbanised, trans-national community. Their book based on this research, Tamil Brahmans: The Making of a Middle-Class Caste, is published by the University of Chicago Press and Social Science Press (New Delhi). Fuller has also researched and written extensively on popular Hinduism and Hindu nationalism, the caste system, the anthropology of the state and other topics. His current research is on the history of the anthropology of India.


Expertise Details

South Asia; India and Hinduism; South Indian temples; religion and politics; globalisation and information technology; Tamil Brahman society and history

Selected publications

2023  Anthropologist and Imperialist: H. H. Risley and British India, 1873-1911. New Delhi: Social Science Press; London: Routledge.

2017  Ethnographic inquiry in colonial India: Herbert Risley, William Crooke and the study of tribes and castes. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (n.s.) 23, 603-21.

2016  Anthropologists and Viceroys: Colonial Knowledge and Policy Making in India, 1871-1911. Modern Asian Studies 50,  17-58. 

2016  Colonial anthropology and the decline of the Raj: caste, religion and political change in India in the early twentieth century. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 26, 463-86.

2014 (with Haripriya Narasimhan)  Tamil Brahmans: The Making of a Middle-Class Caste.  Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. (New Delhi: Social Science Press).

2013 (with Haripriya Narasimhan) Marriage, education, and employment among Tamil Brahman women in south India, 1891-2010. Modern Asian Studies 47, 53-84.

2011 Caste, race, and hierarchy in the American South. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (n.s.) 17, 604-21.

2008 (with Haripriya Narasimhan) From landlords to software engineers: migration and urbanization among Tamil Brahmans. Comparative Studies in Society and History 50: 170-96.

2008 (with Haripriya Narasimhan) Companionate marriage in India: the changing marriage system in a middle-class Brahman subcaste. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 14: 736-54.

2007. (with Haripriya Narasimhan) Information technology professionals and the new-rich middle class in Chennai (Madras). Modern Asian Studies, 41 (1), pp. 121-150. 

2004. The camphor flame: Popular Hinduism and Indian society. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (Revised and expanded edition.)

2003. The renewal of the priesthood: Modernity and traditionalism in a South Indian temple. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (Delhi: Oxford University Press.)