Hello again!

Hi everyone!

I am a rising fourth year PhD Candidate at the Department of Political Science at Penn. I grew up in Bombay, India and moved here to the US in 2017 to start my PhD. My research interests lie at the intersection of gender, urbanization and political participation in India.

My dissertation project looks at the influence of circular male migration on the political participation of left-behind women in India. Specifically, I ask: Does the absence of men due to circular internal economic migration create a condition for women in sending communities to turn politically active? If so, are these effects significantly different for long-term and short-term internal male migration? Also, do they persist even after men return? I aim to study this in the context of rural Bihar, India.

In order to answer these questions I will use a mixed methods approach that will rely on observational data, survey data and qualitative interviews. This summer I will be conducting qualitative phone interviews with elites in low and high migration regions in the state. The goal is to collect information on the types of changes that are occurring in women’s lives and at the village level in terms of political participation and interaction with the state.

I look forward to updating this blog with my findings from these interviews over the course of the summer.

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About Rithika Kumar