Prof. Ashok Acharya

Designation: Professor



University of Toronto 

PhD in Political Science, 2001

Dissertation: Equality, Difference, and Group Rights: The Case of India

University of Delhi

M.Phil in Political Science, 1990

Utkal University

M.A. in Political Science, 1986

B.A. (Hons) in Political Science, 1984

(Ravenshaw College)

Teaching Experience

University of Delhi: Since 2001 till date 

Also taught at: University of Toronto, North-Eastern Hill University and Utkal University


2012-2013: Henry Hart Rice Visiting Professor in Global Justice, South Asian Studies, Political science and Philosophy, MacMillan Center, Yale University.

2012 (Spring): Birmingham-India Social Science Fellowship, University of Birmingham.

2007: Visiting Fellow, Australian Social Science Academy, Australian National University, Canberra.

1999-2000: Doctoral Fellowship, Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto. 

1994-2000: Canadian Commonwealth Scholarships, University of Toronto.

1994-98: University of Toronto Open Scholarship.

1998: Diljit and Gulshan Juneja Award for South Asian Studies, Toronto. 

1996: Indo-Canadian Association Fellowship. 

1987-88: UGC Junior Research Fellowship, University of Delhi.



Editor, Citizenship in a Globalizing World (New Delhi: Pearson, 2012).

Co-editor: An Introduction to Political Theory (New Delhi: Pearson, 2008).

Articles in Books/Journals

‘The Grounds for, and Limits of, Affirmative Action Policy in India,’ in Subhas Kashyap (ed.),

Constitutional Development and Governance in India (PHISPC project: Pearson 2015).

‘Classical Conception of Citizenship,’ in Ashok Acharya (ed.) Citizenship in a Globalizing World (Pearson, 2012).

‘Constitutionalising Difference: The Indian Experiment’ in Achin Vanaik and Rajeev Bhargava (eds.), Contemporary India: Critical Perspectives (Orient Blackswan, 2010).

‘Affirmative Action for Disadvantaged Groups: A Cross-Constitutional Study of India and the US,’ in Rajeev Bhargava (ed.), Politics and Ethics of the Indian Constitution (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2008).

‘Equality,’ in Rajeev Bhargava and Ashok Acharya (eds.), An Introduction to Political Theory, co-editor (Pearson, 2008).

‘Liberalism,’ in Rajeev Bhargava and Ashok Acharya (eds.), An Introduction to Political Theory, co-editor (Pearson, 2008).

‘Is Affirmative Action Justified?’ in Rajeev Bhargava and Ashok Acharya (eds.), An Introduction to Political Theory, co-editor (Pearson, 2008).

Contributing Member, Textbook Development Committee (for Class XI), Political Theory (NCERT, 2006).

‘Accommodating Diversity: Groups in the Indian Constitution,’ in Ajit Jain, Jesse Palsetia and N. K. Wagle (eds.), Rights & Privileges: Fifty Years of the Indian Constitution (Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Toronto: Toronto; 2003).

‘Civil Society and Liberal Norms’, Seminar, 356, August 1997.


Contributor and Member, Textbook Development Committee (for Class XI), Political Theory (NCERT, 2006).

Talks/Presentations/Conference Papers

‘Do We Need a 'Metanarrative' of Health for the Global South?’ Keynote at the International Congress of Bioethics, Edinburgh, June 15-17, 2016.

‘Affirmative Action and the Politics of Disadvantage in the Global South’ in the Invitational Symposium on Global Justice: New Directions in Research and Advocacy at Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium, September 4-5, 2015.

‘Gandhi’s Cosmopolitics’ at Centre for Governance and Public Policy, Griffith University, Brisbane, May 29, 2015.

‘Globalizing Justice under Non-Ideal Conditions,’ at the National Seminar on ‘Is There an Adequate Theory of Justice?’ Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla, March 20-21, 2015.

‘Gandhi’s Cosmopolitics’ at Gandhi and the Global World, Zakir Husain College, University of Delhi, Feb. 27, 2015.

‘The Plurality of Democratic Traditions (and Transitions),’ in the Conference on ‘Political Transition in India's Neighbourhood: Afghanistan and Myanmar,’ Zakir Husain College, University of Delhi, April 11, 2014.

‘Counting the voices of the global poor: Challenges of representing unequal stakes in global governance’ at the Global Justice Seminar, MacMillan Center, Yale University, April 1, 2013.

‘Preferential Policies and the Politics of Proportionality: End Games of Quotas in India?’ at the South Asia Colloquium, Yale University, Feb. 13, 2013.

‘Global Justice and the South: Toward New Normative Synergies’ at the ISA First Global South International Studies Conference at Sciences Po, Menton, France, Nov. 29 – Dec. 1, 2012.

‘Justice, Disadvantage and ‘Rights’ of Groups: Indian Debates’ at the College of Social Sciences, University of Birmingham, Feb. 6, 2012.

‘The Great Wall of Inequality: Reflections on India’ at the ASAP Conference, University of Oslo, September 3-4, 2011.

‘Affirmative Action in India: Justifications, Challenges, Trade-offs’ at the Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham, May 25, 2011.

‘The Justice and Justification of Group Rights,’ in the International Seminar on Nation-Building in Multicultural Society, University of Allahabad, March 4-5, 2011.

‘Group Rights and the Liberal Discourse,’ in the International Seminar on Liberalism, Human Rights and Multiculturalism, New Delhi, February 21-22, 2011.

‘Multicultural Anxieties and the Politics of Inclusion: Towards a Comparative Theoretical Framework’ in the symposium on Challenges of Globalisation: Australian and Indian perspectives, organized by the Australia-India Institute of the University of Melbourne at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, April 27-28, 2010.

‘Justifications of Group Rights: Moral and Political,’ in the National Seminar on Democracy, Identity and Group Rights, Shillong, March 22-23, 2010.

‘Why Equal Opportunity Still Matters, and How,’ in the National Seminar on Social Justice, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 13-15 January 2009.

‘Bicameralism: The Indian Experience,’ Conference on ‘Bicameralism: Australia in Comparative Context’ organized by the Crawford School of Economics and Government, Australian National University, Canberra, 9-10 October 2008.

‘Multicultural Negotiations: The Indian Experience’, University of Sydney, co-hosted by the Nation Empire Globe Research Cluster and the Multicultural & Migration Research Centre, August 23, 2007.

‘The Grounds for, and Limits of, Affirmative Action’, Monash Asia Institute, Monash University, Melbourne, September 3, 2007.

Radio Interview on ‘India’s Affirmative Action Policy’, Connect Asia Program, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, September 5, 2007.

‘Realizing Equal Opportunities’, Developing Countries’ Research Centre, University of Delhi, November 13, 2007.

‘Restorative Justice in a Divided Society: Violence against Dalits and Muslims in India,’ NETSAPPE Meeting II, June 30-July 2, 2003, Bangalore, India.

‘Group Rights and the Making of India’s Constitution,’ American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Washington D. C., August 31-September 3, 2000.

‘Accommodating Diversity: Justifications for Group Rights in India’s Constitution,’ Conference on Indian Republic after 50 years, Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Toronto, March 31- April 1, 2000.

‘Group Rights and India’s Multicultural Constitution,’ Canadian Asian Studies Association, Montreal, June 1999.

'The Grounds for, and Limits of, Affirmative Action Policy in India', 26th Annual South Asia Conference, University of Wisconsin, Madison, October 1998.

'Affirmative Action Policy in India: A Review', in the International Conference on South Asia, ‘India and Pakistan: 50 Years of Independence: Assessment and Prospects’, Canadian Asian Studies Association, Ottawa, August 1997.

Research Interests

Political Theory: contemporary and comparative political theory: liberalism, affirmative action, rights, multiculturalism, applied ethics, and global justice.

Courses Taught/Teaching

Debates in Contemporary Political Theory, Key Texts in Political Philosophy, Theory and Practice of Democracy, Ethics and Politics, Enlightenment and Its Critics, Comparative Politics of Representative Democracies

Research Affiliations

Corresponding Fellow in Global Justice, Global Justice Program, MacMillan Center, Yale University since 2013.

Fellow, Developing Countries’ Research Centre, University of Delhi.

Scholar-in-Residence at the Omeo Kumar Das Institute of Social Change and Development, Guwahati, November 2010.

Visiting Fellow, Department of Political Science, University of Allahabad, September 20-25, 2010.

Core Member, Network on South Asian Politics and Political Economy (NETSAPPE), 2002-04, Ford Foundation-funded collaborative research initiative at the Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Michigan.

Professional Activities

Academic Director, Nyaya: Programme in Global Justice, funded by the British Council with institutional collaboration with the universities of Birmingham and Yale (2013-16).

Conference Convener, Law, Institutions and Political Philosophy, International Conference organized by the Department of Political Science, University of Delhi, August 21-22, 2015.

Conference Convener, Global Justice and the Global South, International Conference organized by the Department of Political Science & the School of Open Learning, University of Delhi, April 25- 27, 2014.

Member, Global Board of Directors, Academics Stand Against Poverty.
Participated in ASAP launches at the University of Birmingham and Oslo, and organized ASAP India launch at the University of Delhi (October 2011)

Co-convener of the international conference on The Distinctiveness of Indian Democracy, April 8- 9, 2005, at the University of Delhi.

Convener, Curriculum Development Committee on Interdisciplinary Courses for BA, University of Delhi.

Member, Textbook Development Committee, NCERT (National Council for Educational Research and Training) for developing course materials for higher secondary students.

Contributed to and helped enrich the new MA syllabi at the University of Delhi, especially in Political Theory. Courses include Contemporary Political Theory, Debates in Political Philosophy, Interpreting Texts: The Classical Tradition, Ethics and Politics, The Theory and Practice of Democracy.

Current Research Project

British Council-funded Project on Programme in Global Justice 2013-16 (with Luis Cabrera & Scott Wisor, University of Birmingham, and Thomas Pogge, Yale University)

Research Supervision

PhDs awarded: 10

MPhil awarded: 20

MA Dissertations supervised: 4

PhDs under Supervision: 6

MPhil under Supervision: 2 (1 submitted)