Poulami Roychowdhury

Associate ProfessorPoulami Roychowdhury

Stephen Leacock Building, Room 839
855 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec, H3A 2T7

Tel.: 514-389-6837
Fax: 514-398-7476
E-mail: poulami.roychowdhury [at] mcgill.ca


Research Areas

Political Sociology; Gender; Political Economy of Development; Qualitative Methods



Assistant Professor at McGill since 2014
Ph.D., New York University, Department of Sociology, 2014

My research examines the relationship between politics, law, and social inequality. My book, Capable Women, Incapable States was released with Oxford University Press in 2021. The book follows women who negotiate rights against gendered violence in India. It shows how Indian law enforcement personnel govern violence not by protecting women from harm, but by forcing them to become "capable": to take the law into their own hands and complete the hard work that incapable and unwilling state officials refuse to complete.

My previous research examined masculinity and labor organizing, and media coverage of sexual violence. I am currently working on two new projects. The first examines the politics of sexual harassment in the United States and India. The second is an inter-disciplinary, collaborative initiative that traces the inequality of Covid 19 in India.

My research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Fonds de Recherche du Québec, and the American Institute for Indian Studies.

I am an Associate Editor at Social Politics and serve on the editorial board of Gender & Society.




2021. Poulami Roychowdhury. Capable Women, Incapable States: Negotiating Violence and Rights in India. New York: Oxford University Press

Journal Articles

2021. Poulami Roychowdhury. "Incorporation: Governing Gendered Violence in a State of Disempowerment." American Journal of Sociology, 126 (4): 852-888. 
2016 Poulami Roychowdhury. “Desire, Rights, Entitlements: Organizational Strategies in the War on Violence.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 41 (4): 793-820.
2016 Poulami Roychowdhury. “Over the Law: Rape and the Seduction of Popular Politics.” Invited Submission for Special Issue: Theorizing Rape Through Time, Space and Relations. Gender & Society, 30 (1): 80-94. 
2015 Poulami Roychowdhury. “Victims to Saviors: Governmentality and the Regendering of Citizenship in India.” Gender & Society, 29 (6): 792-816.
2014 Poulami Roychowdhury. “Brothers and Others: Organizing Masculinity, Disorganizing Workers.” Social Problems, Volume 61, Number 1, pages 22-41.
2013 Poulami Roychowdhury. “The Delhi Gang Rape: The Making of International Causes.” Feminist Studies, Volume 39, Number 1, pages 282-292.

Other Publications

Poulami Roychowdhury. “A call to knowledge: Let’s gather more data before rushing to action.” Gender & Society.

2014 Poulami Roychowdhury. “Gender-based violence: an index of ‘tradition’ or social change?” Gender & Society.

2013 Poulami Roychowdhury. “Focus on rape in India ignores global problem.” Salon.com

2012 Managing Editor (with NYU Colleagues). The Sociology Project: An Introduction to the Sociological Imagination. New York: Pearson.


Courses Taught

Graduate Seminars

SOCI 550 Developing Societies

SOCI 489 Gender, Crime, Deviance

Undergraduate Courses

SOCI 255 Gender and the State

SOCI 370 Gender and Development


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