In my current research project (2013-present), I examine labor migration in rural western India to understand the relations between the seasonal migration of socio-politically and economically marginalized agrarian populations and social change in migrant home villages. I have published my ongoing research in Environment and Planning A; Gender, Place and Culture; and Geoforum. I have been conducting research in Yavatmal district in the drylands of rural western India since 2011 by applying qualitative research methods and surveys, and my project has been supported by the Social Science Research Council and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A paper based on my dissertation was awarded the 2019 J. Warren Nystrom Award by the American Association of Geographers.
Previously (2011-13), I have studied the politics of food-based entitlements in the region to explain a) the distribution of endowments (that can be exchanged for food) among various agrarian communities and b) food-based entitlements as biopolitics that embroils populations occupying multiple social locations and variegated relations with the development state. I have co-published this research in the Journal of Rural Studies, and my project was supported by Ohio University and the Friends of India Endowment Trust in Athens, Ohio
I am currently developing a new research project to examine the relations between climate change and labor migration at a scale that has received limited attention in scholarship, i.e., internal migration within a nation-state. Building on my long-term studies of agro-ecological and socio-political change in rural western India, I seek to understand how climate change is impacting 1) labor-linked agricultural production, and thus, socially, farmer-labor relations; 2) migrant laborers’ livelihood in and away from their home villages; and 3) new gender negotiations in production and social reproduction, as climate change deepens the social vulnerability of marginalized populations. A Faculty Enhancement Grant from Portland State University is supporting this research