Himanshu Jha 

Himanshu Jha 

Associate Professor

Profile Summary

Himanshu Jha holds a Ph.D. from the National University of Singapore, where he held the President Graduate Fellowship. Jha is an M.Phil in Public Policy from the Australian National University, M.A in Political Science from Jawaharlal Nehru University and holds a Bachelor’s degree in History (Hons.) from the University of Delhi. Given his multi-disciplinary background, he has developed a spirited scholarly interest in politics, public policy and history over the years. Jha’s empirical findings and theoretical underpinnings can be located at the intersection of all three. He has strong faith in field-based research and is sensitive to both area and discipline. Jha’s book, Capturing Institutional Change: the Case of the Right to Information Act in India (Oxford University Press), explores the why, how and what of institutional change using a historical institutional approach. This research takes ideas, historical processes and endogeneity seriously. His research has been discussed in various podcasts. Jha taught at Heidelberg University (Germany) and the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Areas of Interests: Political Science, Public Policy, Governance, Development, Institutions

Teaching: Indian Politics, Political Economy, International Relations, Globalization and Research Methodology

Work Experience

Previously, Jha taught at the Department of Political Science, South Asia Institute (SAI), Heidelberg University (HU), Germany and the National University of Singapore (NUS). At HU and NUS, Jha was involved in designing Political Science and Public Policy course curriculums. While at HU, he mentored several Master’s theses and informally advised Ph.D. students. Jha also served as a member of the admissions committee for the Masters’s Program and Ph.D. admissions coordinator at the SAI. Between 2017 and 22, he served as the coordinator of Marie Curie’s European Training Network Project. Prior to his academic engagement, he worked in the developmental sector in India.

Research Interests

Jha’s academic and research interests are broadly in Political science and Public Policy but reasonably interdisciplinary. Jha’s research primarily focuses on institutional and policy change, historical institutionalism, public policy, governance and development, politics of accountability, state capacity and politics of climate change. Jha has articulated his ideas in an authored book and recently published co-edited volume. He is working on his third book manuscript on Public Policy and Governance in India, contracted with Palgrave Macmillan (London). Along with several book chapters, book reviews and popular media contributions, Jha has published in leading academic journals such as the Pacific Affairs, Journal of Asian Studies, India Review, the Washington Quarterly, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Indian Politics and Policy and Economic and Political Weekly. In the next leg of his research journey, he wishes to expand his ongoing research on state capacity.

Teaching Philosophy

Jha’s teaching experience and classroom interaction with undergraduate and graduate students have deepened his commitment to teaching and looking at social sciences in new ways. He believes in maintaining a judicious balance between the ‘area’, the ‘discipline’ and praxis. Jha has designed courses that include the robustness of theories, concepts and arguments in social sciences and are empirically grounded, having organic connections with real-world cases. He is keen to use interactive pedagogy in classrooms where students are encouraged to learn, ideate, question, articulate their views and think creatively. Jha has twice received teaching awards at NUS.

Courses Taught

Jha teaches courses on various topics such as comparative politics; political economy; Indian politics; climate change; international relations; policy paradigms; institutions and institutional change; governance and development; welfare policies; transparency, accountability and corruption and qualitative research methods.

Following are his core areas of teaching:

  • Institutions and Institutional Change
  • Comparative Politics
  • Public Policy, Welfare and Social Policies
  • Local and Global Governance and Development
  • Politics of Climate Change
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Indian and South Asian Politics

Awards and Grants

Jha was the Co-PI of the World bank funded project examining the MGNREGS implementation in the undivided state of Andhra Pradesh. In his previous role as the national coordinator of Social Watch, Jha received institutional grants from the Ford Foundation, European Commission and Oxfam India. As a graduate student, he was awarded the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry Prize (SICCI) for the best thesis in South Asia. At NUS, he was also awarded research fellowships such as the President Graduate Fellowship and NUS research scholarship. Jha received Overseas Educational Programmes Grant Fund and Overseas Fieldwork Funding from the NUS. He has been awarded twice the German Academic Exchange Funding (DAAD) ‘Kongress’ Funding.

Scholarly Activities

Jha has presented his ongoing research at various conferences and has served as a panel discussant. He has organised conference panels on multiple topics such as the state capacity, norms and recently published books by bringing together scholars worldwide. Jha further disseminates his published and ongoing research in various talks and distinguished lectures that he has been invited to deliver in leading global varsities. Jha has co-curated with his colleagues at HU and UPES a vibrant lecture series that provides a platform to engage and ideate with the leading global scholars in Social Sciences.

Keen to put knowledge in the popular domain and moving beyond the academic space, Jha has written widely on current socio-political and policy issues in the popular media. In that vein, Jha’s published work has been featured in newspapers, magazines and podcasts. Jha is the managing editor for the Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative Politics.

Additionally, he has reviewed manuscripts for book publishers such as the Oxford University Press and Routledge and has peer-reviewed journal articles for Contemporary South Asia; Indian Politics and Policy; Territory, Politics and Governance; Politics and Governance, International Area Studies Review, and Democratization. Jha served as a reviewer for the Fullbright Senior Award in 2021.