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Dr Ayushman Bhagat

Lecturer in Human Geography

History, Geography & Social Sciences

Dr Ayushman Bhagat

Department: History, Geography & Social Sciences

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I am deeply interested in multi-disciplinary approaches to research questions around the politics of ‘Human Trafficking’, ‘Modern Slavery’, and Forced Labour. Driven by my commitment to/frustration of implementing anti-slavery projects in South Asia, my research aims to highlight the voices and experiences of migrant workers in policy and scholarly discussions. Founded in participatory praxis, I focus on how and why migrant workers encounter, experience, embody and escape conditions of exploitation, oppression, and rightlessness over time and across space.

My current research area concerns the politics of anti-trafficking and emigration control in the South Asia-Middle East migration corridor. In my research, I problematize state practices of control by focusing on the autonomy of migrants and the spatialization of state power. This focus on spatial practices draws from wide bodies of literature like (anti-) trafficking studies, critical border studies, feminist political geography, and the autonomy of migration. I draw upon these critical frameworks to theorize the encounters and conflicts of mobility and mobility of conflicts and encounters. Methodologically, I value participatory action research and long-term ethnographic engagement with research participants.

In addition to my academic experience, I have a substantial policy and grassroots experience in the development sector of India. I lived and worked in and around a wildlife sanctuary to assist forest-dwelling communities in establishing self-governing institutions for participatory natural resource management. Later, I offered this participatory development expertise to the United Nations – International Labour Organisation (UN-ILO) for the implementation of large-scale development programmes on human trafficking, bonded labour, and inter-state migration at the policy level. Participatory praxis runs as a political thread across all my policy, grassroots, activism, and intellectual endeavours.

Research Interests

  • Modern Slavery/Human Trafficking/Forced Labour/Unfreedom in Labour relations.
  • Sex work/Domestic work/Construction work/Informal work
  • Exploitation/Oppression/Rightlessness of migrant workers
  • Migration
  • Borders
  • Mobilities
  • Illegality
  • Development
  • Subversions and Escape


  1. GEO1043 Introducing Human Geographies (Module Leader)
  2. GEO1044 Practising Human Geographies (Module Leader)
  3. GEO2070 Research Methods for Human Geography (Module Leader)
  4. GEO2072 Human Geography Research in Practice (Module Leader)
  5. GEO2074 Retail and Consumption Geographies
  6. GEO2245 Sustainable Urban Futures
  7. GEO2082 Disaster Management and Risk Reduction
  8. GEO2078 Urban and Rural Geographies
  9. GEO3244 Disaster Recovery Landscape