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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Radhika Govinda

Radhika Govinda
Dr Radhika Govinda
Lecturer in Sociology; On Course Postgraduate Advisor in 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

  • Wednesdays 9 am to 11 am


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
  • feminist, decolonial and critical pedagogies
  • postcolonial state and civil society
  • study of South Asian societies

My research bridges the fields of sociology of gender and political sociology. My work demonstrates the importance of understanding gender politics at the intersections of caste, class, race/ethnicity and religion in women’s and social movements, in development policies and practice, in everyday social relations in rural and urban spaces, and in the global dynamics of knowledge production.

The three broad foci of my current research are: (A) women’s agency and activism in contemporary India, (B) gender politics, development and change in urban India, and (C) doing feminisms in the academy in UK and India, with a keen interest in questions of decolonisation.

I am Primary Investigator on an international 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 Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World; Gender and Development; Gender, Marginality and Social Change; South Asia: Culture, Politics and Economy; and Researching Global Social Change.


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. (2017) '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).

Important Notes and 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).

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, and on decolonising (feminist) knowledge production. In the past, I have supervised research on marriage and migration in rural north India. I am currently supervising research on the following topics: - women in the sugar industry in Malawi - women's education and empowerment in Rwanda - women, environment and sustainable development in north-eastern India - women, transnational migration and gated communities in South India - Romani women, intersectionality and nationalist discourses in Central and Eastern Europe - politics of knowledge production - power and social transformation in rural western 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