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Manisha Desai

Stony Brook University

Based in

United States
North America

Manisha Desai is Professor of Sociology and Asian and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut and a Senior Research Fellow at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) in Geneva, Switzerland. Her areas of research and teaching include gender and globalization, transnational feminisms and women’s human rights, and social movements in India.

Supported by a seed grant from UConn’s Human Rights Institute, her current research examines women’s rights, land rights, and climate justice in India and NE United States. As a member of UNRISD’s Global Network for Research and Action she is also working on an issue brief and an article on Gender Justice as integral to a New Eco-Social Contract and to Climate Justice policies.

Additionally, she is also working on a conceptual reframing of diversity, equity, and inclusion as justice, equity and transformation to ensure that issues of systemic racism and inequalities are addressed structurally. Committed to decolonizing knowledge production and the academy she is on the Steering Committee of the Federation of Feminist Journal Editors that is seeking to establish a feminist, knowledge commons outside commercial publishing to ensure the free circulation of feminist knowledge across borders and language barriers.

Country(ies) of Specialty

United States India

Focus areas of expertise

Climate Justice Agriculture Social movements

How to Connect



“Subaltern Movements in India: Gendered Geographies of Struggle Against Neoliberal Development.”  Routledge, 2016. [Sole Author].

Issue Brief

Special Issues of Journal

Co-editor, 2022. “Special Issue on bell hooks,” in Women, Gender and Family of Color.

Co-editor, 2022. “Special Issue on Crises and the (Re)Organizing of Gender and Work,” in Gender, Work, and Organization.

Asaavari, Ruth Hernandez, Koyel Khan, Rianka Roy. Writing on self together: Collective Autoethnography as praxis of solidarity and collective care during the pandemic. Ch. 6 in In Melanie Heath, Akosua Darkwa, Josephine Beoku-Betts, and Bandana Purkayastha, edited. Global Feminist Autoethnographies During
Covid-19: Displacements and Disruptions. Routledge.

2021 Afterword: Reflections on Cross Border Solidarities and Transnational Feminist Analytic in Conway Janet, Pascale Dufour, and Dominique Masson, edited: Cross Border Solidarities in the Twenty-Frist Century Contexts: Feminist Perspectives and Activist
Practices, pg. 159-166. Rowman and Littlefield.

2021. “Dalit and Autonomous
Feminisms in India.” In Josephine Beouku-Betts and Akosua Adomak Ampofo, edited, Producing Inclusive Feminist Knowledge: Positionalities and Discourses in the Global South. Advances in Gender Research, Volume 3, 65-78. Emerald Publisher.

Desai M. & Rinaldo R. 2016. “Reorienting Gender and Globalization: Introduction to the Special Issue.” Qualitative Sociology.

Journal Articles (peer-reviewed)

Desai M. & Roy R. 2022. “Intersectional Coloniality in 19th Century India: The Sociological Praxis of Savitribai Phule and the Women Activists of Satya Shodhak Samaj (Truth Seeker Society). American Sociologist.

Desai M. & Vo T. 2021. “Immigrant Southeast and East Asian mothers’ transnational postpartum cultural practices: A meta-ethnography.” Women’s Health.

Desai M. 2020. “Beyond the Global North South: Southasian Feminist Imaginaries.” Special Issue of European Journal of Women’s Studies on Global South Feminism.

Desai M. & Rinaldo R. 2016. “Reorienting Gender and Globalization: Introduction to the Special Issue.” Qualitative Sociology,  39(3):1-15.

Desai M. 2016. “The Gendered Geographies of Struggle: The WSF and its sometimes overlapping other worlds.” Gender & Society 30(6):869-889.

Book Chapters (peer-reviewed)

Desai M. 2016. “Exploring the Persistence of Gendered Geographies of Global Justice Movements.”  Pp: 121-131 In Jackie Smith, Michael Goodhart, Patrick Manning, and John Markoff, editors, Social Movements and World System Transformation.  Paradigm Publishers.

Desai M. 2016. “Gendering Democracy: Insights from Four Decades of Feminist Activism in India.” Pp: 93-114 In Kenneth Bo Nielsen and Alf Gunvald Nilsen, editors, Democratizing Indian Democracy? Social Movements and the State in Contemporary India. Palgrave McMillan.

Desai M. 2015. “Critical Cartographies, Theories and Praxis of Transnational Feminisms.”  Pp: 116-130 in Rawwida Baksh and Wendy Harcourt, editors, Handbook on Transnational Feminist Movements: Knowledge, Power, and Social Change.  Oxford University Press.

Desai M. 2013. “The Possibilities and Perils of Scholar Activism and Activist Scholarship: Reflections on the Feminist Dialogues.”  Pp: 89-107 in Jeffrey S. Juris and Alex Kashnabish, editors, Insurgent Encounters: Transnational Activism, Ethnography and the Political, Duke University Press.