University of Minnesota
College of Liberal Arts

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Nithya Rajan

Department Affiliations

University Affiliations

  • Liberal Arts


My research focuses on the labor experiences of refugee women in contemporary India. Using an ethnographic approach, I want to understand how refugee women, particularly Muslim refugee women, undertake complex negotiations and overcoming legal, logistical, and cultural obstacles and restrictions to engage in labor. By studying the experiences of those who are outside citizenship, I seek to understand what is happening to citizenship in India, as well as, the relationship between gender, labor, and citizenship.


  • feminist studies
  • Immigration
  • Critical refugee studies
  • Transnational and Post-Colonial Feminisms

Educational Background

  • MA: Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 2015.
  • MA: The Department of Social Work, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India, 2009.
  • BA: Economics, St. Joseph's College, Calicut, India, 2007.

Research Activities

  • History Intern at International Institute of Minnesota archives at the Immigration History Research Center, UMN: September 2015 - January 2016
  • Research Intern at "self-reliance and livelihood program" for refugees funded by UNHCR, Delhi, India: June 2017 - September 2017

Creative Activities

  • Telling Dis/appearing Tales at Arts Quarter Festival 2017: A theatrical production by students of the Spring 2017 Global Studies class - "Stories, Bodies, Movements"

Professional Activities

  • Council of Graduate Students: 2015 - 2017


  • SSRC Dissertation Development Summer Fellowship, 2017 - 2018
  • Council of Graduate Students Travel Award, 2018

Courses Taught

  • GWSS 1001- Gender, Power and Everyday Life
  • GWSS 4108- Senior capstone writing
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