School of Politics and International Relations

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Katharine Adeney

Professor of Comparative Politics, Faculty of Social Sciences



Professor Katharine Adeney was the previous Director of the University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute, and joined the School in 2013, having previously held positions at Sheffield, Balliol College, Oxford and the LSE. Between 2013 and 2018 she was co-editor of Government and Opposition and is the current chair of their Editorial Board. She was a member of the REF2021 Sub Panel for Politics and International Relations and is co-editor of the new Palgrave Series on the Politics of South Asia. You can follow her @katadeney

Her principal research interests include majoritarianisms in South Asia, especially India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka; ethnic conflict regulation and institutional design; the creation and maintenance of national identities; the politics of federal states, and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

In 2023 she was a winner of a Lord Dearing award, celebrating excellence in Learning and Teaching for her participation in the Team of the Faculty of Social Sciences De-colonising the Curriculum Sphere Challenge Group.

She is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for Multilevel Federalism in New Delhi, a Fellow of the Mahbub ul Huq Centre at LUMS and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore Institute of South Asian Studies. She has also been a Visiting Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Australia National University.

She was a key member of the Leverhulme funded project on Continuity and Change in Indian federalism, particularly on the management of ethnic diversity in India over the last 20 years. She was Lead Consultant for the Forum of Federations' program in Pakistan which ran between 2009-2011, funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Expertise Summary

Majoritarianism in South Asia, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Democracy in South Asia, Ethnic conflict in South Asia, Comparative federalism.

Teaching Summary

Her primary teaching commitments are on modules relating to questions of ethnic conflict, nationalist movements and institutional design, as well as on modules relating to Comparative Politics, How… read more

Research Summary

Majoritarianism in South Asia

She is currently co-authoring a monograph on Majoritarianisms in South Asia with Professor Wilfried Swenden (Edinburgh) building on their joint paper on whether India can be understood as a consociational democracy and her framework in Nations and Nationalism for assessing degrees of ethnic democracy in different countries, applied to India as a case study.

De/Centralization Dataset

She has created an open access dataset on Provincial Autonomy in Pakistan 1956-2020 in collaboration with Dr Filippo Boni (Open University). This dataset produces annual codes through expert analysis of levels of de/centralization in Pakistan's federation between 1956 and 2020 (also covering East Pakistan until 1971). It includes three politico-institutional measures, the legislative and administrative autonomy of 22 policy areas and five fiscal areas. The first research paper appearing from this dataset appeared in Regional and Federal Studies in 2022. A further paper, situating Pakistan within other federations with a chequered democratic history appeared in 2023. Both are free to view, open access papers.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

She is currently researching the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Her paper on CPEC and Federalism (co-authored with Dr Filippo Boni) appeared in Asian Survey in 2020 and she has recently co-authored a report on How Pakistan and China Negotiate for the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace as part of their China Local/Global project. See her participating in a Carnegie panel discussion on this report here.

Selected Publications

Ph.D. supervision

I am interested in supervising students working on the following areas:

Linguistic nationalism in India or Pakistan, either at the national or the state/provincial level.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor - especially in relation to Special Economic Zones, the Digital Silk Road or Agriculture.

Religious majoritarianism in India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka.

Areas of current Ph.D. supervision

Raian Hossain Small powers in South and East Asia

Tusharika Deka Citizenship and Kashmiris

Supervision as first supervisor of successfully completed Ph.D. theses

Economic Diplomacy in Pakistan: Relations with China (Dr Khalid Jarral)

Party competition and fractionalization in India (Dr Dishil Shrimankar)

What do Sino-Pakistani Relations tell us about civil-military Relations in Pakistan? (Dr Filippo Boni)

The impact of sectarianism on democratic consolidation in Iraq (Dr Sangar Mantki)

Bottom-up and Top Down Nationalism in China (Dr Oana Burcu)

A comparison of the use of religious rhetoric in Iraq 2004-5 (Dr Simon Staffell)

Supervision as second or joint supervisor of successfully completed Ph.D. theses

One party dominance and federalism in Malaysia (Dr Tricia Yeoh)

The Evolution of Counter-Insurgency Doctrine in Pakistan (Dr Khurrum Siddiqui)

Counter Cultures in Israel (Dr Veronika Poniscjakova)

Rising China and India: Peace or Threat? (Dr Lan-Shu Tseng)

The Women's Movement in Brazil

Politics and the Party System of Bangladesh

Her primary teaching commitments are on modules relating to questions of ethnic conflict, nationalist movements and institutional design, as well as on modules relating to Comparative Politics, How Voters Decide and Global Asia. All these modules are informed by her previous and current research on the countries of South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan. However, she is interested in learning more about the countries of her students as they relate to questions raised on the modules.

She was a member of the Decolonising the Curriculum Faculty of Social Sciences group involved in producing a Guide for Reflection and Action. In 2023 this group won a Lord Dearing award, celebrating excellence in Learning and Teaching.

In addition to her Lord Dearing Award she has been nominated for a Staff Oscar multiple times and is a committed teacher, having gained teaching experience at four other institutions (Sheffield, Oxford, LSE and SOAS). She has completed an HEA accredited Certificate in Learning and Teaching and is keen to develop her students' analytical skills. She uses Problem Based Learning in her undergraduate and postgraduate teaching - and has produced a Game of Thrones inspired guide to constitutional design in divided societies as well as to electoral systems. You can view her YouTube video of five different electoral systems applied to the world of Westeros here.

Past Research

Her doctoral research at the LSE was a comparative analysis of federalism and ethnic conflict regulation in India and Pakistan. Building on that research enabled her to publish more widely on national identity in India, and on the politics of identity in the constitution making process in Afghanistan.

She has also published on understanding the different outcomes of democratisation in South Asia, together with Andrew Wyatt at the University of Bristol.

She has most recently engaged with developments in the federal system of Pakistan, after the 18th Amendment passed in 2010. This was informed by her engagement with the Forum of Federations' program in the country as Lead Consultant.

She was a key member of the Leverhulme funded network: 'Continuity and Change in Indian Federalism'. This project ran between 2014 and 2016 and was in collaboration with the Universities of Edinburgh and Bristol in the UK and the University of Delhi, Hyderabad University and Burdwan University in India.

She organised and edited the #indiavotes2014 blog through the Ballots and Bullets blog, founded Asia Dialogue and is a regular media commentator.

Future Research

Hybrid Regimes

Building on her work on Democratization in Pakistan and the nature of hybrid regimes, she is currently expanding her focus to a wider comparative project assessing trends in democracy in South and SouthEast Asia.

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