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Sociology: People


Radhika Govinda

Radhika Govinda
Dr Radhika Govinda
Lecturer in Sociology; On Course Postgraduate Advisor, Sociology
6.21 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44(0)131 650 3906
Research Interests
Identity politics, Feminism, Social movements, Gender and Development, intersectionality, Marginality, Indian Politics, South Asian Studies

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • Mondays 10 am to 12 pm


PhD University of Cambridge, UK

MA Institut d'Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po, Paris), France

BA University of Delhi, India

Research Interests

My broad research interests are:

  • women's and social movements
  • gender politics of development
  • identity politics and intersectionality (caste, class, gender, race, religion)
  • postcolonial state and civil society
  • local governance and grassroots democracy
  • study of South Asian societies

My research so far has focused on gender politics at the intersections of movements for subaltern assertion, religious nationalism, and development in a neo-liberal era, examining in particular questions of mobilization and organisation of women, their multiple and intersecting identities – gender, caste, class, religion and region, their presence and representation in development policies and practice, and changes in the dominant gendered social relations, in both rural and urban spaces in contemporary India.

I am presently developing a project on the gender politics of changing spaces, identities and livelihoods in Delhi, and also preparing a manuscript for a book on NGO activism, gender and politics in Uttar Pradesh, India, examining NGO-led women’s activism in the backdrop of Dalit (ex-untouchable) assertion, Hindu nationalist politics and neo-liberal state policies in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

I am also now Primary Investigator on a new project: Teaching Feminisms, Transforming Lives: Questions of Identity, Pedagogy and Violence in India and the UK (2017-2019), which is funded by the UK-India Educational Research Initiative. 

Teaching Interests

Much of my teaching is closely connected with my research. I teach on Contemporary Feminist Debates; Gender and Development; Gender, Marginality and Social Change; South Asia: Culture, Politics and Economy; and Religion and Society. Some of my teaching extends beyond my research interests, and includes my teaching on Sustainable Development 1a and 2a.


Peer reviewed journal articles

Govinda, R. (2013) '"First Our Fields, Now Our Women" Gender Politics in Delhi's Urban Villages in Transition', South Asia Multi-disciplinary Academic Journal (SAMAJ) (online)

Govinda, R. (2013) 'Introduction. Delhi's Margins: Changing Spaces, Identities and Governmentalities', South Asia Multi-disciplinary Academic Journal (SAMAJ) (online)

Govinda, R. (2013) '"Didi are you Hindu?" Politics of Secularism in Women's Activism in India', Modern Asian Studies, 47 (2): 612-51

Govinda, R. (2012) 'Mapping "Gender Evaluation" in South Asia', Indian Journal of Gender Studies 19 (2): 187-209

Govinda, R. (2009) 'In the Name of "Poor and Marginalised"? Politics of NGO Activism with Dalit Women in Rural North India', Journal of South Asian Development, 4 (1): 45-64

Govinda, R. (2008) 'Re-inventing Dalit Women's Identity? Dynamics of Social Activism and Electoral Politics in Rural North India', Contemporary South Asia (BASAS 5th Annual Issue), 16 (4): 427-440

Govinda, R. (2006) 'Politics of the Marginalized: Dalits in Women's Activism in India', invited article, Gender and Development, 13 (2): 181-90

Peer reviewed book chapters

Govinda, R. (Forthcoming 2016) 'Different Dalit Women Speak Differently: Unravelling through an Intersectional Lens, Narratives of Agency and Activism from Everyday Life in Rural Uttar Pradesh', in S. Anandhi and K. Kapadia (eds.), Dalit Women: Vanguard Of An Alternative Politics In India, New Delhi: Routledge

Govinda, R. (2014) 'On Whose Behalf? Women's Activism and Identity Politics in Contemporary Uttar Pradesh', in R. Jeffery, J. Lerche and C. Jeffrey (eds.), Uttar Pradesh: Development Failure and Identity Politics, New Delhi: Sage.

Ramachandran, V., K. Jandhyala and R. Govinda (2012) 'Introduction', in V. Ramachandran and K. Jandhyala (eds.), Cartographies of Empowerment: The Story of Mahila Samakhya, 1988-2008, New Delhi, Zubaan.

Govinda, R. (2012) 'The politics of being and becoming', in A. Sekhar (ed.), Closer to Ourselves: Stories from the Journey to Peace in South Asia, New Delhi: Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP).

Book reviews

Govinda, R. (2015) Book review of Marie-Caroline Saglio-Yatzimirsky's Dharavi, From Mega-Slum to Urban Paradigm (New Delhi and Abingdon: Routledge), South Asia Multi-disciplinary Academic Journal (SAMAJ) (online)

Govinda, R. (2009) Book review of Handy et al.'s Grassroots NGOs by Women for Women: The Driving Force of Development in India (Sage, New Delhi: 2006), Contemporary South Asia, 17 (2).

Govinda, R. (2008) Book review of Badri Narayan's Women Heroes and Dalit Assertion in North India. Culture, Identity and Politics (Sage, New Delhi: 2006), Contemporary South Asia, 16 (3).

Work In Progress

In the Name of "Poor and Marginalised": NGO Activism, Gender and Politics in Uttar Pradesh, India (book length manuscript, under revision).

Topics interested in supervising

I welcome the opportunity to supervise research on issues of gender and development, identity politics and and women's activism in the Global South, especially though not exclusively focused on South Asia. I am currently supervising research on women in the sugar industry in Malawi, and on migration, displacement and environmental justice in India. In the past, I have supervised research on marriage and migration in rural north India.

If you are interested in being supervised by Radhika Govinda, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in South Asian Studies; PhD in Sociology; PhD in International Development; MSc (R) Sociology; MSc (R) Socio-Cultural Studies; MSc (R) in South Asian Studies