Priti Ramamurthy
Grant Category: Fulbright-Nehru Academic & Professional Excellence Award (Research)
Project Title: The Country in the Country and the City and Collaboration: For a Poetics of Informal Economies in Contemporary India
Field of Study: Gender Studies
Home Institution: University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Host Institution: Ambedkar University, New Delhi, Delhi  
Grant Start Month: December, 2017
Duration of Grant: Nine months

Priti Ramamurthy
Brief Bio:

Dr. Priti Ramamurthy is a professor of gender, women, and sexuality studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. She has chaired the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies (2012–17) and directed the South Asian studies program (2007–12). She earned a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree in economics from Lady Shri Ram College in 1976, a PGDBM from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, in 1978, an MA in regional planning in 1982, and a PhD in social science (with distinction) from the Maxwell School, Syracuse University, in 1995. She has published in World Development, Cultural Anthropology, Feminist Studies, SIGNS, and Environment and Planning A. She is a co-editor and co-author of The Modern Girl Around the World: Modernity, Consumption, Globalization (Duke, 2008). Her research focuses on the politics of social reproduction and cultural production in rural and urban India. An ethnographer, she has spent over three decades in villages in South India mapping lives and livelihoods in smallholder, especially Dalit, households as they embrace green revolution, hybridization, and GMO technologies and aspire for dignity. A recurrent thematic, pursued through her analytic of feminist commodity chains, and the method of connective comparison, has been how global political-economic conjunctures manifest in local, familial, and intimate relationships. She teaches courses in feminist political economy, gender and development, globalization, and social movements in India.

The informal sector in India, which was supposed to disappear with development, still employs over 90 percent of workers in uncertain rural and urban livelihoods. In 2015–16, Dr. Ramamurthy and her collaborators conducted oral histories with over a hundred rural migrants to Delhi and Hyderabad on their life experiences and desires. With her Fulbright-Nehru grant, Dr. Ramamurthy is returning to follow eight migrants back to their villages to understand urban transformations from the vantage point of the rural, recognizing that the urban and the rural are inextricably interlinked. She is also holding two workshops that theorize rural-urban dynamics in India.