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Mabel Denzin Gergan

Headshot of Prof Gergan

Assistant Professor of Asian Studies (South Asia)


Office: Buttrick 236



  • PhD – University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


  • Postcolonial environmentalism
  • Tribal/Indigenous theorization
  • Anti-colonial politics
  • Race & ethnicity in South Asia


Mabel Denzin Gergan is a geographer by training, and her research focuses on postcolonial environmentalism, Tribal/Indigenous theorization, anti-colonial politics, and race and ethnicity in South Asia. So far, she has focused on the Indian Himalayan borderlands and the relationship between frontier territories and 'mainland' India, characterized on the one hand, by state-led development interventions in the region and on the other, through the movement of racialized bodies from the borderland to India's urban heartland. More recently, she has collaborated with scholars working on Indigenous politics in North America (British Columbia and the Navajo Nation), focusing on Indigenous youth activism, infrastructure politics, and decolonial futurity. 

Born in Sikkim, India, she has lived and worked extensively in the Eastern (Sikkim) and Western (Uttarakhand and Ladakh) Himalayas. She holds her PhD from the Department of Geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before joining Vanderbilt, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Florida State University. 


  • Gergan, M. D. 2020. Disastrous hydropower, Uneven regional development, and Decolonization in India's Eastern Himalayan borderlands. Political Geography80, 102175.
  • Gergan, M.D., & Smith, S. 2020. ‘The path you will choose won’t be a fairy tale’: urban prefiguration and mountain Nostalgia in India’s Northwest Himalayas. Space and Polity24(1), 77-92.
  • Gergan, M.D, Smith, S., & Vasudevan, P. 2018. “Earth beyond repair: Race and apocalypse in collective imagination”. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.   
  • Gergan, M.D. 2017. “Living with Earthquakes and Angry Deities at the Himalayan Borderlands”. Annals of the American Association of Geographers. Vol. 107, 490-498.