Sumangala Damodaran Joins GWSS as Visiting Scholar in 2024 

Submitted by Whitney Miller on

Singer extraordinaire, composer and economist, classically trained in Carnatic and Hindustani music, Sumangala Damodaran has spent the last decade collecting the musical compositions of Indiaʼs anti-colonial and working-class music from a tradition known as the Indian Peopleʼs Theatre Association. This work resulted in the book The Radical Impulse (2017) and an album titled Songs of Protest

Professor Sumangala Damodaran will be a Fulbright Exchange Program Visiting Scholar in the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies during Winter and Spring 2024. Student can look out for the courses she will teach—GWSS 454: Women, Words, Music and Change (Winter) and GWSS 405: Comparative Women’s Movements and Activism (Spring). As the 2024 Stice Feminist Scholar of Social Justice, she will also present a performance lecture.  

She has taught at Delhi University and Ambedkar University; served as Director of Gender and Economics with International Development Economics Associates (IDEAs); and been visiting professor at Ashoka University, University of Cape Town, and Institute for Human Development, Delhi. As a development economist, her research and publications fall broadly within the rubric of industrial and labor studies and more specifically industrial organization, global value chains, the informal sector, and labor and migration.  

As a singer and composer, she has collaborated with poets and musicians from South Africa as a founding member of the award-winning Insurrections Ensemble, which has produced six albums directed a multi-institutional project on Music and Migration in Precolonial Afro-Asia, which has resulted in two musical productions and a book titled Maps of Sorrow (2023).