Aseema Sinha, Ph.D.

Claremont McKenna College

Country: United States (California)

About Me:

I teach at Claremont McKenna College, a premier Liberal Arts College in Southern California. I am associated with three majors: International Relations (IR), Government (GOV) and Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). Teaching and research are my passion and my vocation. I love puzzle-driven research –driven by an interesting question—similar to investigative reporting. I find that conversing and teaching students is rewarding in both tangible and intangible ways. Through teaching I also learn about questions that animate my students and make me feel alive every semester. I am a political scientist by training and do research on political economy of India. I also have strong interests in studying and learning about other emerging powers such as Brazil, Russia, and China. Within the sub-field world of political science my home sub-field is comparative politics but recently I was nudged to foray into International politics and International political economy. In the process, I have learnt a great deal about the World Trade Organization! (WTO). This boundary crossing has challenged me but has also been very productive. Research has made me grow in ways I could not have imagined, travel all around the world and learn new things. I love travelling and especially travelling with concepts and theories of political science, and more broadly social science. In this website, you can learn about my latest book, my ongoing research projects, and my teaching ideas.

Research Interests

Asian Politics

International Law & Organization

Political Economy

Comparative Democratization


Globalization And India

Comparative Political Economy

International Organizations

Trade Policy

Trade Agreements

Rising Powers

Countries of Interest




My Research:

Dr. Aseema Sinha is a Professor in the Government department at Claremont McKenna College. She holds the Wagener Chair of South Asian Politics and is a George R. Roberts Fellow at the College. She is a Fulbright Scholar and a Visiting Fellow at IDSA in New Delhi, 2016-2017. She previously taught at University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in DC. She was a founding member of the South Asia in World Politics section at International Studies Association. Her research interests relate to political economy of India, India-China comparisons, International Organizations, and the rise of India as an emerging power. She teaches courses on South Asia, Social Movements, Globalization and Developing Countries, and on Comparative Politics. She has authored a book, The Regional Roots of Developmental Politics in India: A Divided Leviathan (Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2005), which received a book prize titled, Joseph Elder Book Prize in the Indian Social Sciences. Her book, Globalizing India: How Global Markets and Rules are Shaping India’s Rise to Power was published with Cambridge University Press in 2016 and in South Asia in 2017. She is also an author of journal articles on India and Brazil, federalism, subnational comparisons in India, India and China, business collective action in India, and public expenditure across Indian states. Her articles have appeared in the British Journal of Political Science, World Development, Polity, Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Politics, Business and Politics, Journal of Democracy, and India Review.


Journal Articles:

(2015) State Transformation and the Rise of Lawyers: The WTO, India, and Transnational Legal Ordering, Law and Society Review

This article explains the impact of India's engagement with the law of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on both the Indian state and on the WTO itself. In each case, it explains the role of Indian lawyers within the larger transnational context. In engaging with globalization and the WTO, India has transformed itself. The Indian state has moved toward a new developmental state model involving a stronger emphasis on trade, greater government transparency, and the development of public-private coordination mechanisms in which the government plays a steering role. The analysis shows that it has done so not as an autonomous policy choice, but rather in light of the global context in which the WTO and WTO law form an integral part. Reciprocally, the article displays the ways that India has built legal capacity to attempt to shape the construction, interpretation, and practice of the trade legal order. Indian private lawyers play increasing roles, although they remain on tap, not on top.

Books Written:

(2016) Globalizing India: How Global Ruls and Markets are Shaping India's Rise to Power, Cambridge University Press

India’s recent economic transformation has fascinated scholars, global leaders, and interested observers alike. In 1990, India was a closed economy and a hesitant and isolated economic power. By 2016, India has rapidly risen on the global economic stage; foreign trade now drives more than half of the economy and Indian multinationals pursue global alliances. Focusing on second-generation reforms of the late 1990s, Aseema Sinha explores what facilitated global integration in a self-reliant country predisposed to nationalist ideas. The author argues that globalization has affected trade policy as well as India’s trade capacities and private sector reform. India should no longer be viewed solely through a national lens; globalization is closely linked to the ambitions of a rising India. The study uses fieldwork undertaken in Geneva, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and Washington, DC, interviews with business and trade officials, alongside a close analysis of the textile and pharmaceutical industries and a wide range of documentary and firm-level evidence to let diverse actors speak in their own voices.

Book Chapters:

(2016) “Partial Accommodation Without Conflict: India as a Rising Link Power, Cambridge University Press

This book chapter looks at the rise of India as a global power. I analyze whether India is being accommodated in the global system. The idea in this paper is that India’s rise will not cause conflict in the system but India has been accommodated both in terms of global institutions, soft power, and hegemonic strategies.

Media Appearances:


(2017) Business Standard

Aditi Phadnis, Interview with Aseema Sinha, “Modi’s “Diaspora nationalism is not anti-globalization,” Business Standard, October 8, 2017.