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University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies


Reetika Subramanian

Gates Cambridge International Scholarship

Brides of Drought: Gendered interlinkages between labour and marriage migration of adolescent wives/ workers in India’s climate crisis

Supervisor: Professor Samita Sen (Vere Harmsworth Professor in Imperial and Naval History, Faculty of History) 


Anchored at the intersections of marriage migration and girlhood studies, my doctoral research proposes to make visible the labour and experiences of adolescent girls in the context of a climate crisis. I seek to combine a multi-sited feminist ethnography with an informed interpretation of community women’s oral folk songs of labour, to understand the complex ways in which early marriage is used as an institutional means to produce a particular workforce of adolescent wife-workers in capitalist labour markets, in India’s historically drought-prone and caste-ridden Marathwada region. To develop this exploratory thesis, I will pursue two simultaneous trajectories set against the backdrop of frequent and intense droughts: one linked to the historical and socio-economic changes that have driven early marriage and survival migration, and another occurring as the adolescent girls become wives and workers. By training the spotlight on the analytical idea of girlhood and (re)productive labour, I aim to demystify the structural hierarchies and complex processes underlying these exchanges.


MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies (Distinction and Recipient of Chevening-Cambridge Trust Scholarship), University of Cambridge, 2017

MA in Media and Cultural Studies (Distinction), Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, 2015

Bachelor of Mass Media- Journalism (Distinction), University of Mumbai, 2011


Research Interests: 

Gender, Labour, Migration, Structural Violence, Community Media