Leela Fernandes

add contact to address book

Leela Fernandes

Glenda Dickerson Collegiate Professor of Women's Studies;Professor of Women's Studies;Professor of Political Science

Office Location(s): 1122 Lane Hall
Women's Studies Homepage
View Curriculum Vitae

  • Fields of Study
    • Gender and Politics
    • Feminist Theory
    • Urban Politics
    • Comparative Government and Politics
  • About

    Leela Fernandes studies the relationship between politics and culture through both qualitative empirical research and theoretical scholarship. Her research examines the ways in which cultural meanings, practices and identities shape political behavior and deepen our explanations of political conflicts and processes. She has pursued this research agenda through extensive field research on labor politics, democratization and the politics of economic reform in India. Her focus on identity, culture and politics has led her to work extensively on qualitative and interdisciplinary methods including ethnographic and interpretive methods.

    A central dimension of Professor Fernandes' research is the study of gender in shaping cultural, economic and political processes. She has worked on theories of intersectionality and has also examined the gendered dimensions of nationalism and transnationalism. An ongoing foundation of Professor Fernandes' research is the study of social inequality with a particular emphasis on researching and theorizing class identity and inequality.

    Leela Fernandes is currently working on two projects. She is completing a book on transnational feminism and interdisciplinary feminist theory. This work uses an analysis of the paradigm of transnational feminism to examine the relationship between ethics, politics and knowledge production and to analyze the project of interdisciplinarity. The second project is concerned with developing a historical and philosophical understanding of the relationship between religion, social movements and the state through a study of caste and the politics of religious conversion in India.

    Professor Fernandes previously taught at Rutgers University, New Brunswick and Oberlin College and is currently the South Asia Editor of the journal Critical Asian Studies.

    Selected Publications

    • India's New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an Era of Economic Reform. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, December 2006.
    • "Hegemonic Aspirations: New Middle Class Politics and India's Democracy in Comparative Perspective," (with Patrick Heller), Critical Asian Studies, December 2006.
    • Producing Workers: The Politics of Gender, Class and Culture in the Calcutta Jute Mills, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997. Reprinted edition published in India (English Edition). New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1999.
    • "Unsettling 'Third Wave Feminism: Feminist Waves, Intersectionality and Identity Politics in Retrospect" in Nancy Hewitt, ed., No Permanent Waves: Recasting Histories of U.S. Feminism. NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2009.
    • "The Politics of Religious Conversion: Unsettling State/Civil Society Boundaries in India", Religion and Politics, 4 (1), 2011 (April).
    • "Reading 'India's Bandit Queen': A Trans/National Feminist Perspective on the Discrepancies of Representation," Signs: A Journal of Women, Culture and Society, 25, 1 (Autumn): 123-152, 1999.
    • "The Politics of Forgetting: Class Politics, State Power and the Restructuring of Urban Space in India," Urban Studies, 41 (12): 2415-2430, 2004.
    • "The Boundaries of Terror: Feminism, Human Rights and the Politics of Global Crisis" in Wendy Hesford and Wendy Kozol, eds., Just Advocacy?  Transnational Feminism, Women's Human Rights and the Politics of Representation, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2005: 56-74.

  • Research Areas of Interest
    • Gender and Politics
    • Feminist Theory
    • Urban Politics
    • Comparative Government and Politics
  • Selected Publications:
  • Books