Department of Politics and International Studies

Professor Shirin Rai

Key information

Department of Politics and International Studies Research Professor
Department of Politics and International Studies
Russell Square: College Buildings
Email address


Shirin M Rai FBA is Distinguished Research Professor of Politics and International Relations. She is a Fellow of the British Academy.

Shirin is an interdisciplinary scholar and has written extensively on issues of gender, governance and development and gender and political institutions. She is currently working on the impact of COVID-19 on older people and their carers in Coventry and Leicester and is currently writing two books - Depletion: the human cost of care (OUP) and Doing Politics Sideways (Routledge).  

Her recent publications include, Performing Representation (OUP, 2019), commentary on women MPs in the Indian Parliament and the OUP Handbook of Politics and Performance (2021). She has also edited a volume on the Indian Debates on the International Left (2021). 

Her current work has three strands: 1) feminist international political economy: see her work on depletion through social reproduction (IfJP, 2014) where she analyses the costs of doing social reproductive work, how this might be measured and transformed. 2) Gender and political institutions: see Performing Representation: Women Members in the Indian Parliament (with Carole Spary, OUP) and 3) politics and performance: see the edited collections on performance and/or politics - OUP Handbook of Politics and PerformanceThe Grammar of Politics and Performance (eds. with Janelle Reinelt, Routledge, 2015) and Democracy in Practice: Ceremony and Ritual in Parliament (ed. Palgrave, 2014) where she explores how performance in and of institutional and informal politics are co-constitutive.

Shirin is happy to supervise PhD students in the broad areas of her research.

Research interests

Shirin has supervised doctoral dissertations on a variety of topics

  • The Indian Partition
  • Globalisation, local elites and social movements in Bolivia
  • Economic Liberalisation of the Indian Economy
  • Gendered Ceremony and Ritual in the Indian Parliament
  • Water management and institutional politics in India
  • Gender, migration and work

Currently, Shirin is accepting PhD students in the broad areas of

  • Gender and Politics
  • Politics and Performance
  • Parliaments – especially the social anthropology of parliamentary institutions and rituals
  • Feminist International Political Economy
  • Social Movements


Contact Shirin