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Dr Kalpana Wilson

Lecturer in Geography

BA(Hons) Economics (Sussex)

MA Area Studies – South Asia (SOAS, London)

PhD Political Economy (SOAS, London)


  • Kalpana Wilson is a Lecturer in Geography and her research explores questions of race/gender, labour, neoliberalism, and reproductive rights and justice, with a particular focus on South Asia and its diasporas.
  • She has a BA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Sussex, and an MA in Area Studies (South Asia) and a PhD in Political Economy from SOAS, University of London. She has previously taught at the London School of Economics (LSE) and at SOAS.
  • She is the author of ‘Race, Racism and Development: Interrogating History, Discourse and Practice’ (Zed Books, 2012) and has published widely on race, gender, international development, women’s agency and rural labour movements.

Research interests

  • My research interests include: Race, racism and international development; Diasporas in international development; Gender, labour and globalisation; Gender and social movements; Transnational feminism; Visual representations in development; Reproductive rights and reproductive justice; Population discourse, migration and climate change
  • My recent research has explored the previously under-researched question of racism and racialisation in international development. I have examined the relationships between race, capital, embodiment and resistance in transnational historical and contemporary contexts. I put forward an approach which underlines the materiality of race in development as well as its discursive aspects, combining elements of postcolonial, critical race and feminist theory with political economy.
  • Secondly, building upon long-term research on rural labour movements in India, I have looked at contesting understandings of women’s agency, in the contexts of neoliberal development interventions, and social movements. I have also examined emerging representations of women and adolescent girls in the Global South as hyper-industrious potential entrepreneurs and how this ‘new’ set of gendered and racialised representations is linked to an intensification and extension of women’s labour in the context of globalisation.


  • I teach the following undergraduate and postgraduate modules: ‘Race’ Ethnicity and Development; Culture and Development; Human Geography: Space, Time and Place in the Contemporary World
  • I am Programme Director of the BSc Social Sciences Programme


  • I am interested in supervising MPhil/PhD students in the areas of racism, imperialism and international development, gender and labour, social movements in South Asia and its diasporas, and population policy, discourse and practice.


  • Books
  • Chapters in edited books
    • ‘Development’ in Visual Global Politics, Roland Bleiker (ed.), Routledge, 2017
    • '"An act of struggle in the present": History, education and political campaigning by South Asian anti-imperialist activists in Britain’  with Anandi Ramamurthy, in History’s School: Past Struggles and Present Realities, Aziz Chowdhry and Salim Vally (eds.), Routledge, 2017
    • ‘Come and Join the Freedom-Lovers: Race, Appropriation and Resistance in Advertising’ with Anandi Ramamurthy, in Racism Analysis Yearbook 4–2013: Colonial Advertising & Commodity Racism,Wulf D. Hund and Michael Pickering (eds.) Berlin and London:Lit Verlag 2013
    • ‘Agency as “Smart Economics”: Neoliberalism, Gender and Development’ in Gender, Agency and Coercion, Sumi Madhok, Anne Phillips and Kalpana Wilson (eds.) London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, pp. 84-101
    • ‘Gender and Development’ in Gender: The Key Concepts, Mary Evans and Carolyn Williams (eds.), Abingdon: Routledge, 2012
    • ‘From Missionaries to Microcredit: “Race”, Gender and Agency in Neoliberal Development’ in ‘The Women, Gender and Development Reader’, Second Edition, Nalini Visvanathan et al.(eds.), London:Zed Books, 2011, pp.99-102
    • ‘Picturing Gender and Poverty: from “Victimhood” to “agency”?’ in The International Handbook on Gender and Poverty, Sylvia Chant (ed.), Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2010, pp.301-306
    • ‘Agency’ in The Impact of Feminism on Political Concepts and Debates, Georgina Blakeley and Valerie Bryson (eds.), Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2007, pp. 126-145
  • Journal articles
    • ‘For reproductive justice in an era of Gates and Modi – the violence of India’s population policies’, Feminist Review, No. 119, Special Issue, ‘Feminism, Protest and the Neoliberal State in India’, co-edited with Navtej Purewal and Jennifer Ung Loh, March 2018
    • ‘In the name of reproductive rights: race, neoliberalism and the embodied violence of population policies’, New Formations, Special Issue on ‘Righting Feminisms’, 2017
    • ‘Towards a Radical Re-appropriation: Gender, Development and Neoliberal Feminism’ Development and Change, 46(4), 2015, pp. 803-832
    • ‘“Race”, Gender and Neoliberalism: Changing Visual Representations in Development’, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 2, 2011, pp. 315–331
    • ‘Appropriating “Agency”, Marginalizing Resistance’, IDS Bulletin, Vol. 39, No. 6, December 2008, pp.83-91
    • ‘Who are the “Community”? The World Bank and Agrarian Power in Bihar’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XLI No. 1, January 7-13, 2006
    • ‘Small Cultivators in Bihar and “New” Technology – Choice or Compulsion?’ Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.37, no.13, March 30, 2002
    • ‘Patterns of Accumulation and Struggles of Rural Labour: Some Aspects of Agrarian Change in Central Bihar’, Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 26, Nos.2-3, April 1999 pp. 316-354
  • Lectures
  • Media

Professional membership

  • Royal Geographical Society
  • Development Studies Association

Contact details:

Room 404

Department of Geography

32 Tavistock Sq.

London, WC1H 9EZ


Tel: 020 3073 8452