Nithya Rajan

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My research focuses on refugees in the global south, experiences of women refugees, global refugee livelihood policy, UNHCR in the global south, Afghan refugees in India. My dissertation project tries to understand how refugees, 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 the changing meaning of citizenship in India, and the relationship between gender, labor, and citizenship.

Educational Background & Specialties

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.

Curriculum Vitae


  • feminist studies
  • Immigration
  • Critical refugee studies
  • Transnational and Post-Colonial Feminisms
  • South Asia
Courses Taught
  • GWSS 1001- Gender, Power and Everyday Life
  • GWSS 4108- Senior capstone writing
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Council of Graduate Students: 2015 - 2017


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


  • Telling Dis/appearing Tales at Arts Quarter Festival 2017: A theatrical production by students of the Spring 2017 Global Studies class - "Stories, Bodies, Movements",
  • Rajan, Nithya. What do refugees want? Reading refugee lip-sewing protests through a critical lens. Taylor & Francis, 2019. Link
  • Lives in Limbo: A conversation about the precarious lives of refugees in India: Rajan, Nithya, Salma Gul, Author. Link
  • Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship (IDF), Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC), 2019 - 2020
  • SSRC Dissertation Development Summer Fellowship, 2017 - 2018
  • Council of Graduate Students Travel Award, 2018