Solomon Benjamin is Associate Professor in the Dept of Humanities and Social Science. His recent research areas span across issues of the territorial formations and logics of and titling, small town urbanisation and the urbaness of trans-national trade and manufacturing connections between India and China. His earlier research looked at the politics of urban poverty and governance, chronic poverty, on the urban land transformation as connected to economic development, and on the conceptual and implementation experiences of shelter upgrading. His theoretical contribution revolves mostly around land issues, around the concept of ‘Occupancy Urbanism’ and more recently work on multiple logics of the urban as political spaces. His recent publications connect to wider and interdisciplinary research networks, with the FF collective, he anchors and edits a book Cities Untold: Negotiating spatial practices and imaginations (edited with Varun Patil, Gauri Nagpal & Harsh Mittal) presently under technical production expected January to June 2023) in a series: ‘India Since the 1990s’ complied by Ashish Rajadhyaksha & Gauri Nagpal, Tulika-Books Delhi (English) Mandarin by Dinghaiqiao – West Heavens Project Shanghai China, listed and distributed internationally via Colombia University Press. Another collective, Popular Economies, spanning Europe, Latin America, South Africa, India anchored by Abdou Malik Simone (Sheffeild University) looks at practices of embedded economy into society shaped by everyday practices of city building – to be published as Simone et al.) 2022 Popular Economies, Public Culture expected October 2022, presently under post technical edits and formatting. His other publications are: 2022 (with AbdouMaliq Simone) Majority Urban Politics and Lives Worth Living in a Time of Climate Emergencies A Special Issue of the Journal Social Text, 2021 (with Tang Wing-Shing) Land as situated History into ‘Southern’ Urbanism’ Ch 33 in Michele Lancione and Colin McFarlane (Editors) Global Urbanism Knowledge, Power and the City’ Routledge UK.
Benjamin has been part of several international research projects: Presently a French CNRS project on Urban Lands Commons in Nagpur and Odisha, as an extension of it's earlier work in 2017 looking at North Bangalore. An IITM exploratory grant (with Prof. G Venkatesh) on Repair, Service and Refurbisment in Electronics building on a project on Phone re-engineering funded by ICSSR Delhi between 2012 and 2016. He was also between 2012 to 2017, Benjamin was also a member of Surburbin (Subaltern Urbanisation in India) Project a CNRS French Funded project with the Urban Dynamics group of the Centre de Sciences Humaines (CHS), New Delhi. Around this time he was also part of the the Global Suburbanisms: Governance, Land and Infrastructure in 21st Century. In 1998 to 2005, as an independent researcher he coordinated a research group in Bangalore. This was in part with DELPHI Pvt Co on Industrial Clusters funded by the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC), UNIDO and also with the UNDP. Other projects were in collaboration with the International Development Group of the University of Birmingham and with the Chronic Poverty Research Centre at the University of Manchester, and on EU and World Bank funded project evaluation. He has been invited and presented at several national and international conferences including the 2014 Urban Age conference by the LSE, the 2015 Nehru Memorial Library Lecture and in 2002, as member of the opening panel of the World Bank’s inaugural annual symposium on Urban Poverty.
Benjamin has also been engaged in critical art practice as listed below
· 2016-17 Invitation by the Asian Art Archive Hong Kong to their ‘15 Invitations’ program inviting artists and media practitioners to conceptualize art practice. Working in collaboration with Prof. Wing Shing Tang at HKBU, HK, and local artists. December January 2017 http://www.aaa.org.hk/15Invitations
· 2010 Mentor to the City as Studio program of the SARAI- Cybermohalla’s group of media artists, writers, dancers, and filmmakers exploring Delhi’s emerging and past urbanism by way of city walks. See: City-as-Studio: Process as Frame http://interventionsjournal.net/2011/09/07/city-as-studio-process-as-frame/ ; City as Studio 01 and http://www.sarai.net/publications/occasional/city-as-studio-2010 ; and, City as Studio 02 http://www.sarai.net/practices/media-forms/city-as-studio-edition-2 http://www.sarai.net/practices/media-forms/city-as-studio-exb, ‘Arguments for the Imperfect City’ in the program’s publication, ‘The City as Studio’ (Edition 1) RAQs Cyber Mohalla Press. (http://www.sarai.net/publications/occasional/city-as-studio-2010 July 2011.
· 2005 RAQs media collective’s film of Benjamin’s lecture for an exhibition at the Kunstverein Stuttgart. See: *City Guide I* Lecture performance/Video, 17 min. - Solomon Benjamin - (1960) Production year: 2005 Sarai Media Lab at: Building Sight: Curatorial Project for On Difference #2 City Guide I http://www.sarai.net/practices/media-forms/city-guide-i