Kate Sullivan de Estrada

South Asia
Oxford University


Kate Sullivan de Estrada is Director of the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme and Associate Professor in the International Relations of South Asia at the University of Oxford. Her research seeks to understand India’s identity as a rising power and its behavior in relation to key institutions and norms of global governance. Her work on India and status seeking has engaged with the strategies Indian elites have adopted to seek accommodation and recognition within the global order, most extensively in her book with Rajesh BasrurRising India: Status and Power (2017). Other single-authored and co-authored works centre on conceptions of Indian exceptionalismpractices of compliance and resistance in India’s self-projection as a rising power; India’s conformity and innovation in relation to the nuclear non-proliferation regime (with Nicola Leveringhaus); and continuity and change in India’s approaches to non-proliferation and global climate governance (with Manjari Chatterjee Miller). What unites this work is Kate’s interest in deeply understanding the agency of rising powers — in particular how non-Western rising powers experience, respond to, and often (but certainly not always) reproduce hegemony ‘from below’. Deeply understanding rising power agency is crucial for assessing and proposing pathways for global peaceful change. Will rising powers conform to expectations of conflict-driven power transition or seek to avoid these? Will they uphold existing institutional norms and practices of global governance or seek to innovate new ones?  A deeper theorization of rising power agency, centered on the case of India, is the subject of Kate’s new monograph-in-progress.