School of Social and Political Science

Dr Radhika Govinda

Job Title

Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Director of GENDER.ED and School Director for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Photo
Radhika Govinda's photo

Room number

6.21

Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

City (Address)

Edinburgh

Country (Address)

UK

Post code (Address)

EH8 9LD

Research interests

Research interests

Radhika's broad research interests are:

  • women's and social movements
  • gender politics of development
  • identity politics and intersectionality
  • feminist, decolonial and critical pedagogies
  • masculinities and the postcolonial state
  • study of South Asian societies

Radhika's research bridges the fields of sociology of gender, international development and South Asian studies. Radhika's work sheds light on 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 Radhika's current research are: (A) women’s agency and activism, (B) gender politics, development and urban social change, and (C) intersectionality and decentring northern hegemony in knowledge production.

Research and Knowledge Exchange Grants

Radhika was Primary Investigator from the University of Edinburgh on a Una Europa grant, Dreams or Reality? Doing gender studies and creating equality and diversity at universities in post-pandemic times (2021-23). This was a collaboration between Uniwersytet Jagiellonski w Krakowie, Freie Universität Berlin, Helsingfors Universitet, KU Leuven, University College Dublin, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, University of Edinburgh and Universität Zurich. The Una Europa Gender Equality Network (UGEN) is an outcome of this collaboration. 

Radhika was Primary Investigator on an international project, Teaching Feminisms, Transforming Lives: Questions of Identity, Pedagogy and Violence in India and the UK (2017-2021), which was funded by the UK-India Educational Research Initiative of the British Council. This was a North-South collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, UK and Ambedkar University Delhi, India. It explored successes, challenges, continuities and disjunctures that feminists encounter in the academy.

Radhika was Co-investigator on a knowledge exchange initiative, Education for climate justice: Centring social justice amidst demands to prioritise the climate crisis in education (2020-21), led by Callum McGregor (University of Edinburgh) which was funded by the Scottish Universities Insight Institute. This was a collaboration involving colleagues from the University of Edinburgh, University of St Andrews, Glasgow Caledonian University, SCORE Scotland and Learning for Sustainability, Scotland.

PhD Supervision

Radhika welcomes the opportunity to supervise research on issues of gender and development, identity politics and and feminist activism in the Global South, especially though not exclusively focused on South Asia, and on decolonising (feminist) knowledge production.

Current doctoral supervisees

- Intersectional masculinities in postcolonial Singapore (Aerin Lai, Sociology)
- Romani women, intersectionality and knowledge production in Poland (Marta Kowalewska, Sociology, ESRC 1+3 Scholarship)
- Women's education and empowerment in post-genocide Rwanda (Sangwon Park, International Development)
- Everyday lives of Tamil Brahmin women, South India (Sambhavi Ganesh, South Asian Studies, Graduate School Studentship Award and School International Award)
- Afghan refugee women, intersectionality and informal labour in Delhi, India (Kanak Rajadhyaksha, International Development, College Research Award PhD Studentship)

- Sugar and development in Malawi's Lower Shire Valley (Megan Harrington, International Development, The Chrystal Macmillan PhD Studentship)

Completed PhDs

- Solar power, agriculture and sustainability in rural Western India (Kamya Choudhary, International Development, Perfect Storm Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship)
- Forest conservation, adivasis and the construction of environmental subjects in North-Eastern India (Shubhi Sharma, Sociology)
- Return migrantion, resettlement and gated communities in Bangalore, South India (Mini Chandran Kurian, Sociology)
- Intersectional critique of contemporary normative political theory (Cat Wayland, PIR, ESRC 1+3 Scholarship)

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

Background

Radhika Govinda's Edinburgh Research Explorer listing

Qualifications

  • BA (Hons) Political Science, Lady Sri Ram College, University of Delhi
  • MA Political Science, Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po)
  • PhD South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge

Roles and Responsibilities

Radhika is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Director of GENDER.ED, the University's interdisciplinary hub for gender and sexualities studies. Prior to joining the University of Edinburgh, she held a Lectureship in Gender Studies at Ambedkar University Delhi, India.

At Edinburgh, she is the Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for her School, and an active member of the Centre for South Asian Studies. She is also a member of EREN and the Staff BAME network. She was Sociology Postgraduate Advisor (On-Programme) 2016-2017 and 2018-2020.

In 2022-23, Radhika was the winner of the College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences Staff Recognition Award for Advancing Inclusion. In 2019-20, she was nominated from the School of Social and Political Science in the CAHSS Staff Recognition Awards in two categories: Inspiring Colleague, and Leader of Innovation and Change.

Radhika is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Since 2021, Radhika is a member of the Board of Trustees for Shakti Women's Aid

Teaching

Radhika is passionate about teaching. Much of her teaching is closely connected with her research, and is focused on intersectionality and on gender in the Global South.

She teaches on:

Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World

Understanding Race and Colonialism

Gender and Development (course organiser)

Gender, Marginality and Social Change (course organiser)

South Asia: Culture, Politics and Economy

Researching Global Social Change

In 2019-20, Radhika was nominated for the EUSA Teaching Award in the category, Outstanding Commitment to Liberation in the Curriculum. The students who nominated her said:

“Radhika has taught me in two courses in my time at university, and these have been my favourite and most worthwhile courses taken. She created classes that are important by including contemporary and diverse examples, especially of her own work in India. These classes have changed my world view and encouraged me to make more effort to be inclusive in other courses and all aspects of my life. I think her work is really important and we need more of it at the University of Edinburgh.”

“Radhika consistently challenges students to engage with our own privilege and positionally both inside and outside of the classroom. She encourages a critical and intersectional understanding of the world and helps us see power operating inside and outside of the academy. Through reading and studying scholars from the Global South and engaging academically with decolonisation, Radhika’s courses actively decolonise our reading lists and our university at large. She is inclusive and approachable while continually challenging her students.”

Publications

Books and special issues

Radhika is currently working on a monograph on Feminist Politics, Intersectionality and Knowledge Production (under contract with Routledge).

R. Govinda, F. Mackay, K. Menon and R. Sen (eds.) (2020) Doing Feminisms in the Academy: Identity, Institutional Pedagogy and Critical Classrooms in India and the UK, New Delhi and Chicago: Zubaan Publications and The University of Chicago Press.

K. Choudhary, C. Wayland and R. Govinda (eds.) (2020) Feminist Struggles in the Academy in India and the UK. Comic book publication inspired by UGC-UKIERI funded Teaching Feminisms, Transforming Lives Project (2017-2020) workshops, roundtables and panel discussions, with illustrations by S. Khan and S. Singh

Govinda, R. (ed.) (2013) South Asia Multi-disciplinary Academic Journal (SAMAJ) (online): Special Issue on Delhi's Margins. See my introduction: 'Delhi's Margins: Changing Spaces, Identities and Governmentalities'

Peer reviewed journal articles

Govinda, R. (2022) 'Interrogating intersectionality: Dalit women, western classrooms and the politics of feminist knowledge production', Journal of International Women's Studies, 23(1). 

Govinda, R. (2019) 'From the taxi drivers' rear-view mirror: masculinity, marginality and sexual violence in India's capital city, Delhi', Gender, Place and Culture, 27(1): 69-85

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) '"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. (2021) 'Mirror mirror on the wall', in D. Ndlovu (ed.), Moving Words: Poetry In/As Research, Open Access E-Book. 

Govinda, R. (2020) ‘Fifty Years of Doing Feminisms in the Academy – Where Do We Stand? Reflections from Britain’, in R. Govinda, F. Mackay, K. Menon and R. Sen (eds.), Doing Feminisms in the Academy: Identity, Institutional Pedagogy and Critical Classrooms in India and the UK, New Delhi and Chicago: Zubaan Publications and The University of Chicago Press.

Govinda, R. (2020) ‘Decolonising Feminist Classrooms’, in R. Govinda, F. Mackay, K. Menon and R. Sen (eds.), Doing Feminisms in the Academy, New Delhi and Chicago: Zubaan Publications and The University of Chicago Press.

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).

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).

Govinda, R. (2007) Book review of Shah et al.’s Untouchability in India (Sage, New Delhi: 2006), newbooks.asia, an initiative of International Institute of Asian Studies, Netherlands.

Blog posts

Kowalewska, M. and R. Govinda (2021) Feminist Labour in the AcademygenderED blog, 22 March.

Kowalewska, M. and R. Govinda (2021) Different Pathways into FeminismgenderED blog, 15 March.

Govinda, R. and F. Mackay (2021) Introducing the 'Voices from the Early Days' Blog SeriesgenderED blog, 8 March.

Govinda, R. (2021) Women's, Gender and Feminist Studies at Edinburgh: A Window on Journeys Undertaken, genderED blog, 8 March.

Govinda, R. (2020) The Rainbow Series: Artwork and Emotions in the time of Covid-19, Edinburgh Decameron: Lockdown Sociology at Work, 23-31 July.

Everyday Musings of a Child Growing Up in Pandemic Times, The Sociological Review's Solidarity and Care Blog, 25 June.

C. Wayland, K. Choudhary and R. Govinda (2019) Gender-based violence: a glimpse of feminist dilemmas in the academy16 Days Blogathon, 7 December.

Govinda, R. (2018) 'Bad Girls', Everyday Sexism and Activist Campaigns in Millennial India, 16 Days Blogathon, 30 November.

Recorded Talks and Podcasts

Govinda, R. (2023) Intersectionality and Coloniality in the Struggle for Gender Equality and Women’s Rights, Keynote Address at the Scottish Parliament to mark International Women's Day and 20 years of Scottish Women's Convention, Edinburgh, UK. 

Govinda, R. (2021) Decolonising the Curriculum - Sharing Ideas: Radhika Govinda, Teaching Matters Podcast, University of Edinburgh, UK.

Govinda, R., S. de Jong and R. Icaza (2021) Transnational Feminist Dialogues: Decolonising Feminist Teaching in Neoliberal Times, Roundtable, Margherita Von Brentano Center, Free University Berlin, Germany.

Govinda, R. (2021) Intersectionality, Marginality and Decolonisation, Stories of Women in Law Podcast, University of Edinburgh, UK.

Govinda, R., K. Bento and T. Curry (2021) Intersectionality Across and Between the Global South and North, RACE.ED Podcast: Undersong, University of Edinburgh, UK.

Govinda, R. (2020) Reflections on Intersectionality and Decoloniality, RACE.ED Launch Event on Collective and Creative Pedagogy, University of Edinburgh, UK.

Govinda, R. (2019) ‘“Mirror Mirror on the Wall...” The Promise and Perils of Decolonising Feminist Classrooms’ Decolonising Feminist Knowledge Workshop, Unviersity of Edinburgh, UK.

Govinda, R. (2019) Keynote on ‘Interrogating Intersectionality and Feminist Knowledge’, Equality and Intersectionality Multi-Sector Conference, Equality Network and University of Edinburgh, UK.

Works within

Staff Hours and Guidance

By appointment, Wednesday 9-11

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Govinda R. Interrogating intersectionality: Dalit women, western classrooms and the politics of feminist knowledge production. Journal of International Women's Studies. 2022 Feb 28;23(2):72 - 86.
Govinda R. Decolonising feminist classrooms. In Govinda R, Mackay F, Menon K, Sen R, editors, Doing Feminisms in the Academy: Identity, Institutional Pedagogy and Critical Classrooms in India and the UK. New Delhi: Zubaan Books. 2020
Govinda R. Fifty years of doing feminisms in the academy: Where do we stand? Reflections from the UK. In Govinda R, Mackay F, Menon K, Sen R, editors, Doing Feminisms in the Academy: Identity, Institutional Pedagogy and Critical Classrooms in India and the UK. New Delhi: Zubaan Books. 2020
Govinda R, (ed.), Mackay F, (ed.), Menon K, (ed.), Sen R, (ed.). Doing Feminisms in the Academy: Identity, Institutional Pedagogy and Critical Classrooms in India and the UK. New Delhi: Zubaan Books, 2020. 330 p. Epub 2020 Sept 22.
Govinda R. From the taxi drivers’ rear-view mirror: Masculinity, marginality and sexual violence in India’s capital city, Delhi. Gender, Place and Culture. 2020 Jan;27(1):69-85. Epub 2019 May 19. doi: 10.1080/0966369X.2019.1567469
Govinda R. Different Dalit women speak differently: Unravelling, through an intersectional lens, narratives of agency and activism from everyday life in rural Uttar Pradesh. In Anandhi S, Kapadia K, editors, Dalit Women: Vanguard of an Alternative Politics in India. 1 ed. Abingdon: Routledge. 2017. p. 218-245 doi: 10.4324/9781315206493
Govinda R. On whose behalf? Women's activism and identity politics in contemporary Uttar Pradesh. In Jeffery R, Jeffrey C, Lerche J, editors, Development Failure and Identity Politics in Uttar Pradesh. New Delhi: SAGE Publications Ltd. 2014. p. 165-187 doi: 10.4135/9789351507895.n7
Govinda R. First Our Fields, Now Our Women. South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (SAMAJ). 2013 Dec 17;(8).
Govinda R. Introduction: Delhi’s Margins: Negotiating Changing Spaces, Identities and Governmentalities. South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (SAMAJ). 2013 Dec 17;(8).
Govinda R. ‘Didi, are you Hindu?’ Politics of Secularism in Women's Activism in India: Case-study of a Grassroots Women's Organization in Rural Uttar Pradesh. Modern Asian Studies. 2013 Mar;47(2):612-651. Epub 2012 Nov 21. doi: 10.1017/S0026749X12000832
Ramachandran V, Jandhyala K, Govinda R. Cartographies of Empowerment: A synthesis of issues and ideas presented in the book. In Ramachandran V, Jandhyala K, editors, Cartographies of Empowerment: The Mahila Samakhya Story. New Delhi: Zubaan . 2012
Govinda R. Mapping 'Gender Evaluation' in South Asia. Indian Journal of Gender Studies. 2012 Jun 1;19(2):187-209. doi: 10.1177/097152151201900202
Govinda R. In the Name of ‘Poor and Marginalised’? Politics of NGO Activism with Dalit Women in Rural North India. Journal of south asian development. 2009 Apr 24;4(1):45-64. doi: 10.1177/097317410900400104
Govinda R. Reinventing Dalit Women's Identity? Dynamics of Social Activism and Electoral Politics in Rural North India. Contemporary South Asia. 2008;16(4):427-440. doi: 10.1080/09584930802472772