Research on Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice: Advancing Gender Equity in India and Abroad

Dr. Desai and her international collaborators last year received a grant from the Spencer Foundation to host a three-day international workshop in January of 2020 in India, which brought together an interdisciplinary group of senior and early career scholars from both India and abroad.


Through this workshop Dr. Desai and her colleagues assembled robust frameworks that attended to the ways in which educational actors negotiate the contradictory conditions of post-market reform society.

Dr. Karishma Desai’s research employs anthropological and transnational feminist lenses in the study of gender, globalization, and education to understand the contested ways in which universalized norms about gender and childhood are produced, circulate, and are negotiated in educational sites.

Dr. Desai’s work focuses on questions around what kinds of gendered knowledges, subjectivities and aspirations are configured as desired within international development regimes and how they are translated in educational interventions. Her current project investigates the prominence and rationality of life skills within calls to educate girls in the global South. “I study these global discourses alongside the everyday embodied and relational cultural lives of young women within unequal educational contexts,” said Dr. Desai.

When discussing her vision for her research and its impact, Dr. Desai indicated that, “It’s my hope that this kind of upending paired with careful attention to and engagement with young people who have been pushed to the margins will engender possibilities for epistemological and ontological projects towards more just futures.”