Bharat Venkat

Associate Professor at UCLA, 2022-2023 USC Berggruen Fellow
Bharat Venkat photo

Dr. Bharat Jayram Venkat is an Associate Professor at UCLA with a joint appointment spanning the Institute for Society & Genetics, the Department of History, and the Department of Anthropology. His current book project—Swelter: A History of Our Bodies in a Warming World— is about thermal inequality, the history of heat, and the fate of our bodies in a swiftly warming world riven by inequality. This book reflects on the existential and planetary crisis posed by extreme heat, but from the perspective of our bodies as they experience this crisis. In our age of anthropogenic climate change, this work argues that the science of climate and the science of the body can no longer be held apart—if they ever could. Swelter will be published by Crown in the United States, and Picador in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Venkat is also the founding director of the UCLA Heat Lab, a diverse team of undergraduate and graduate students that investigates thermal inequality from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, ranging from biology and history to anthropology and urban planning. Students in the lab have worked on an assortment of projects across Los Angeles, such as eliciting oral histories about thermal experience in Watts and measuring the occupational heat exposure of food truck workers in Westwood. In collaboration with the UCLA TIE-INS Program, the Lab has also developed and taught climate literacy curriculum for elementary and high school students in the LA Unified School District (LAUSD).