Dr Sundari Anitha


    School of Social and Political Sciences
    College of Social Science

    About Sundari Anitha

    My academic background has been in Politics and after receiving my PhD from SOAS, I held a post-doctoral research position at the University of Central Lancashire (2003-2006), where I researched access to drug services among Black and minority ethnic prisoners. As Research Fellow at the University of Leeds (2007-2009), I was part of a team (with Professor Ruth Pearson at University of Leeds and Professor Linda McDowell at Oxford University) that researched South Asian women’s participation in two industrial disputes, Grunwick and Gate Gourmet, funded by the AHRC programme ‘Diaspora, Migration, Identities’. A Follow-on grant from the AHRC enabled us to draw upon this research to produce resources for non-academic audiences - these include an exhibition on South Asian women’s role in the struggle for workers’ rights in the UK, an educational website aimed at secondary school children, and a two-part comic based on the life stories of women workers we interviewed for our research (see web links on this page).

    I recently completed three research projects and am in the process of writing academic outputs based on these findings. The first of these was a three-year study of transnational marriage abandonment in India in collaboration with Dr Anupama Roy, JNU, India, funded by the British Academy(see link). My second study explored the medium to long term outcomes for South Asian survivors of domestic violence in the UK who had utilised a specialist refuge. The third study was an action research project (2014-15), where I led a team of researchers from three Schools in the University of Lincoln and worked in collaboration with Scottish Women’s Aid, White Ribbon Campaign and Tender to set up and evaluate a set of prevention education programmes to address the issue of gender-based violence in university communities.

    I’m currently producing an edited collection exploring policy, prevention and educational initiatives in relation to GBV in university communities, to be published by Policy Press in 2017, with Ruth Lewis, University of Northumbria.

    My research interests lie in two areas across the disciplines of Social Policy, Sociology, Criminology and Politics:
    (i) the problem of violence against women and girls in the UK and India; health, social policy and criminal justice responses to this problem; the politics of intersectionality and the connections between violence within homes and outside (race, ethnicity, class, gender, and migration); nature and impact of the professionalisation of the domestic violence services; practitioner and service-user perspectives in domestic violence service provision; gender-based violence in university communities; and particular forms of VAW such as dowry, forced marriage, transnational abandonment of wives, domestic servitude and acid violence.  
    (ii) Linked to this research is my ongoing interest in issues of gender, race and ethnicity in employment relations; employment experiences of South Asian diasporas in the UK;  organisation of/industrial action by migrant women workers.

    In between academic jobs, I have previously managed a Women’s Aid refuge and worked as an Advice Worker for Asha Projects, a specialist refuge for survivors of domestic violence. I have been active in campaigns and policy-making on violence against women, including forced marriage. I am currently a trustee of two London-based charities -  a specialist refuge for survivors of domestic violence, Asha projects; and ATLEU (anti-trafficking and labour exploitation unit), which provides legal representation to victims of trafficking and labour exploitation.

    Department Responsibilities

    Module Co-ordinator (level 2 module ‘Work and Society’; level 3 module ‘Gender and violence’; and MA module ’Global Issues in Gender and Sexuality’)
    Lecturer in Criminology, Politics, Sociology and Social Policy modules (levels 1, 2, and 3)
    Lecturer in MA modules
    Member of External Relations and Income Committee; and of EU and International Research Working Group

    Subject Specialism

    violence against women and girls, gender and work, life history methods


    • 1999-2003: PhD in Politics of Culture, SOAS, University of London, UK
    • 1994-1996: MA in Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
    • 1991-1994: BA(Hons) in Political Science, Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, New Delhi, India

    Professional Affiliations

    • British Sociological Association
    • Law and Social Science Research Network (LASSnet)
    • Social Policy Association

    External Activities and Consultancy

    Other Scholarly activities:  I am on the editorial board of Women’s Studies International Forum, and a member of the Academic Forum of the Runnymede Trust. I have reviewed articles for journals including Violence Against Women, British Journal of Social Work, Women‘s Studies International Forum, Current Sociology, Gender, Place & Culture, Social Policy & Society, Social Science Journal, Contemporary South Asia, South Asian Diaspora, and Economic and Political Weekly, and have reviewed book proposals for OUP and Zed. I have also reviewed grant applications for the ESRC and Research Foundation - Flanders (Belgium).
    I have written expert witness reports for court cases on issues relating to domestic violence and dowry (please contact me if you wish to discuss a pro bono expert report on domestic violence where appellant does not have legal aid). I have been the Academic Consultant for the Grunwick 40 exhibition at Brent Museum and Archives, Willesden Green Library (19 Oct 2016-26 Mar 2017). I have also acted as consultant to Imkaan (a second tier organisation providing support, advocacy and training to Black and Minority Ethnic refuges), Saheli (a specialist refuge) and Imece Turkish Speaking Women’s Group.

    Research Interests

    Research Projects

    • Surviving domestic violence: Medium to long term outcomes for South Asian women accessing refuge services in England and Wales (2014-15) — Awarded £2,994 by College Research Fund, University of Lincoln
    • Stand Together: Challenging gender-based violence through prevention education (2014-15) — Awarded £45,948 by Research Investment Fund, University of Lincoln
    • Transnational abandonment: A new form of violence against women? (2013-16) — Awarded £29,129 by British Academy
    • Striking Women: South Asian workers’ struggles in the UK labour market (2012-13) — Awarded £81,042 by Arts and Humanities Research Council
    • Change Together: A pilot project to tackle forced marriage among university students (2011) — Awarded £20,000 by Forced Marriage Unit Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Research in the Lincoln Repository

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