Leela Fernandes

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Leela Fernandes

Glenda Dickerson Collegiate Professor of Women's Studies and Political Science, Director of Graduate Studies

1122 Lane Hall 204 S. State St. Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1290

Office Location(s): 1122 Lane Hall
Phone: 734.763.2047
leelaf@umich.edu
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  • Fields of Study
    • Gender and political economy
    • Cultural politics
    • Feminist theory
    • South Asian Studies
    • Religion and politics
    • Social movements and social inequality
    • Transnational/international feminism
    • Qualitative methods
    • Intersectionality
  • 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:
  • Books