Priti Ramamurthy is a professor in the department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. A feminist political economist, she is interested in questions of social reproduction: how do people who are marginalized by politics and economic development craft meaningful lives in the process of reproducing themselves every day and across generations? Two major research studies have engaged these questions. The Country and the City: Poetic Lives in India's Informal Economy is about the lived experiences and desires of women and men, many from subordinated caste groups, who toil in India's cities even as they remain enmeshed in on-going lives in their villages. For this project, she and her collaborators conducted over a hundred oral history interviews with poor urban migrants in Delhi and Hyderabad and went back with ten to their villages. The second study is about the relationship between the social reproduction of rural families and processes of agrarian transformation in the Telangana region of southern India. For this, she has returned to the same villages for three decades. Ramamurthy’s articulation of feminist commodity chain analysis, a way to track the creation of value and gendered identities, is a methodological contribution to studies of gender and globalization. A third project resulted in the co-edited and co-authored The Modern Girl Around the World: Modernity, Consumption, Globalization (Duke, 2008).
Fellowships and Grants
- Society of Scholars, Simpson Center for the Humanities, 2019-20.
- Fulbright-Nehru Academic & Professional Excellence Fellowship, 2017-18.
- ACLS Research Collaborative Fellowship, 2015-17.
- American Institute of Indian Studies Fellowship, 2015-2016.
- American Institute for Indian Studies Fellowship, 2006-2007.
- Royalty Research Fellowship, University of Washington, 2006-2007.
- Modern Girl Around the World Research Project. Sponsored by Simpson Center for the Humanities, Institute for Transnational Studies, the UW Graduate School, Comparative Law and Society Center, and the Allen Libraries Endowment
- Priti Ramamurthy and Vinay Gidwani. “The Gender of Value: Punctuated Violence and The Labor of Care”, Feminist Studies, Special Issue: Feminism and Capitalism, 2021.
- Priti Ramamurthy. "Translocal Householding", Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Special Dossier: Concept Histories of the Urban edited by Anupama Rao and Casey Primel, 40.1, 2020, 86-93.
- Kiran Asher and Priti Ramamurthy. “Rethinking decolonial and postcolonial knowledges beyond regions to imagine transnational solidarity,” Hypatia, Special Issue: Toward Decolonial Feminisms: Tracing the Lineages of Decolonial Thinking through Latin American/Latinx Feminist Philosophy, 2020, 1–6.
- Priti Ramamurthy. “The Delhi of Dostis: What kind of brotherhood?”, 2019 Antipode Lecture, International Sociological Association, Annual Conference of the Research Committee on Urban and Regional Development, India Habitat Centre, Delhi, 20 September 2019. https://antipodeonline.org/2019/08/29/2019/
- Priti Ramamurthy and Vinay Gidwani. “Towards a Queer Phenomenology of Social Reproduction: Insights from Life Histories of Informal Economy Workers in India” in Doreen Massey: Critical Dialogues, ed. Marion Werner, Jamie Peck, Rebecca Lave, Brett Christophers, Newcastle upon Tyne: Agenda Publishing, 2018: 325-341.
- Priti Ramamurthy. “AlterNotes on The Politics of Women’s Studies Graduate Certificates”, Feminist Studies, 2018, 44, 2, 298-302.
- Vinay Gidwani and Priti Ramamurthy. “Agrarian Questions of Labor in Urban India: Middle Migrants, Translocal Householding and the Intersectional Politics of Social Reproduction.” Journal of Peasant Studies, 2018, 45:5-6, 994-1017.
- Priti Ramamurthy. “A Feminist Commodity Chain Analysis of Rural Transformation in Contemporary India,” in Routledge Handbook of Gender in South Asia, edited by Leela Fernandes. London and New York: Routledge, 2014: 247-259.
- Priti Ramamurthy. “Feminist Commodity Chain Analysis: A Framework to Conceptualize Value and Interpret Perplexity,” in Gendered Commodity Chains: Seeing Women’s Work and Households in Global Production, edited by Wilma Dunaway. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014: p. 38-52.
- Priti Ramamurthy. "Rearticulating caste: the global cottonseed commodity chain and the paradox of smallholder capitalism in south India." Environment and Planning A, Vol. 43 (2011): p. 1035-1056.
- Amy Bhatt, Madhavi Murty and Priti Ramamurthy. “Hegemonic Developments: New Indian Middle Class, Gendered Subalterns, and Diasporic Returnees in the event of Neoliberalism,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Special Issue: Feminists Theorize International Political Economy, Vol. 36, No.1, 2010: p. 127-152.
- Priti Ramamurthy. “Why Are Men Doing Floral Sex Work? Gender, Cultural Reproduction, and the Feminization of Agriculture,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, vol. 35, no. 2, 2010: 397-424.
- Alys Eve Weinbaum, Lynn M. Thomas, Priti Ramamurthy, Uta G. Poiger, Madeleine Yue Dong, and Tani E. Barlow, editors (The Modern Girl Around the World Research Group). The Modern Girl Around the World: Consumption, Modernity, and Globalization, Durham: Duke University Press, 2008.
- Priti Ramamurthy. "All-consuming Nationalism: The Indian Modern Girl in the 1920s and 30s," in The Modern Girl Around the World Research Group (Alys Eve Weinbaum, Lynn M. Thomas, Priti Ramamurthy, Uta G. Poiger, Madeleine Yue Dong, and Tani E. Barlow, editors), The Modern Girl Around the World: Consumption, Modernity, and Globalization, Durham: Duke University Press, 2008.
- Priti Ramamurthy. "The Modern Girl in India in the Inter-war Years: Inter-racial intimacies, International competition, and Historical eclipsing," Women's Studies Quarterly, 34, no. 1 & 2, Spring 2006, 197-226.
- Tani Barlow, Madeleine Dong, Uta Poiger, Priti Ramamurthy, Lynn Thomas, Alys Weinbaum (Modern Girl Research Group). "The Modern Girl Around the World: A Research Agenda and Preliminary Findings." Gender and History, 17, no.2, Fall 2005.
- Priti Ramamurthy, Miranda Joseph, and Alys Eve Weinbaum. "Towards a New Feminist Internationalism." In Women's Studies for the Future: Foundations, Interrogrations, Politics, edited by Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy and Agatha Beins, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2005.
- Priti Ramamurthy. "Why is buying a 'madras' cotton shirt a political act?: A feminist commodity chain Analysis" Feminist Studies, 30, no. 3, Fall 2004.
- Priti Ramamurthy. "Material Consumers, Fabricating Subjects: Perplexity, global discourses, and transnational feminist research practices," Cultural Anthropology 18 (4) 2003.
- Priti Ramamurthy. "Indexing Alternatives: Feminist Development Studies and Global Political Economy", Feminist Theory, Vol. 1, (2), August 2000.
- Priti Ramamurthy. "The Cotton Commodity Chain, Women, Work, and Agency in India and Japan: The Case for Feminist Agro-food Systems Research", World Development, Special Issue on Restructuring Agro-food systems in Asia, Vol. 28, No. 3, March 2000.
- Priti Ramamurthy. "Rural Women and Irrigation: Patriarchy, Class, and the Modernizing State in South India," in Women Working the Environment, edited by Carolyn Sachs, New York & London, Taylor and Francis, 1997.
Research Advised: Graduate Dissertations
- Yulee, J., Ramamurthy, Priti, Nam, Hwasook, Reddy, Chandan, & Yee, Shirley. (2018). Expressive Struggles: Neoliberal Temporalities and the Social Reproduction of Feminized Labor in South Korea, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.
- O'Laughlin, L., Ramamurthy, Priti, Swarr, Amanda, García, María Elena, Govindrajan, Radhika, & Mackenzie, Louisa. (2018). Toxic Animal Encounters: Queer Environmental Threats and Racialized Reproduction Anxieties, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.
- Amy Bhatt. “At Home in Globalization: Social Reproduction, Transnational Migration, and the Circulating Indian IT Household.” Diss. U of Washington, 2011.
Research Advised: Presentations Projects Publications Essays
- "From Ayotzinapa to Ferguson, Fue el Estado: Indigenous Epistemologies and Transnational Solidarity in Response to State Violence," Decolonial Feminist Praxis: Centering Knowledge and Resistance at the Margins. Eds. Annie I Fukushima and K. Melchor Hall for Democratizing Knowledge Project Fellows. 2021.
Priti Ramamurthy's research is in conversation with:
Shirley Yee’s archival work on community economies in New York. We are both interested in how communities—cross cut by, in Yee's case, class and race, and, in Ramamurthy's, class and caste—come together in exchange relationships which are also the grounds for different expressions of gendered identities, desires, and indeed, what “economy” itself is.
Sasha Welland’s and Amanda Swarr’s research intersects with Ramamurthy's in the ways they all trouble the “transnational” in transnational feminist research. Through their ethnographic research in India, China and South Africa, based on epistemic and activist collaborations, they seek to expand the boundaries of feminist knowledge production and “area” studies.
The relationship of gendered identities, labor patterns and labor organizing, developmentalist states, and global political economy inform the research of Shuxuan Zhou, Jiwoon Yu-Lee, and Elizabeth Arreola Ramirez and Priti Ramamurthy.
South Asian Feminism, political economy, development, and gender formation in India are interests shared with Akanksha Misra and Chandan Reddy.
Transnational feminism in the US and global political economy is a shared interest of Lauren O’Laughlin and Priti Ramamurthy.