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Photo of Reddy, Gayatri

Gayatri Reddy, PhD

Associate Professor

Director of Graduate Studies for Gender and Women's Studies

Anthropology, Sociocultural and Medical

Gender and Women's Studies

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Building & Room:

UH 1226


601 S Morgan St

Office Phone:

(312) 413-5658

Related Sites:


Gayatri Reddy is an anthropologist, feminist, writer, and teacher. She got her B.A. from the University of Delhi, and her M.A. and Ph.D in Anthropology from Emory University. She is currently an Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies, Global Asian Studies, and Anthropology at the University of Illinois Chicago. Her research, teaching and community engaged work lie at the intersections of sexuality, gender, race, and the politics of subject and community formation in India and the Indian diaspora. She is the author of With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South India (University of Chicago Press, 2006), an ethnography of hijras, the so-called “transgender” community in India. Like the larger corpus of her work, this book locates such figures of sexual difference, and the domain of sexuality more generally, within a broader field of social difference, exploring the intersections of gender and sexuality with religion, race, ethnicity, and class in South Asia and its diaspora. More recently, she has begun a research project exploring the contextual meanings of blackness in contemporary India through the lens of Indian Ocean world East African migrations to India in the wake of slavery’s abolition. Tracing these historical routes and geopolitical mappings through the prism of masculinity, this project historically and ethnographically explores the complex ways in which race, religion, and masculinity are constructed both through global as well as local contours of difference, to shape contemporary belonging. Along with Anna Guevarra, she has also co-founded a public history project exploring the long histories of displacement of migrant, poor, and working-class communities in the northside Chicago neighborhood of Uptown.

Selected Grants

2022-2023, UIC Institute for the Humanities, Faculty Fellowship

2022-2024, UIC Chancellor's Creative Activity Grant, Co-PI with Anna Guevarra

2020-2021, UIC Strikeforce Community Engagement Grant, Co-PI with Anna Guevarra

2016-2017, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropology Research, Senior Fellowship

2016-2017, American Institute of Indian Studies, Senior Fellowship

Selected Publications

2024 (forthcoming) “Our Blood is Becoming White:” Race, Religion and Siddi Becoming in Hyderabad, India,” American Anthropologist (reviewed and accepted for publication)

2024 (forthcoming) “Bumbay Bibingka: Subaltern Legacies and Culinary Crosscurrents Between India and the Philippines, forthcoming in Eating More Asian America, ed. Martin Manalansan, Robert Ko, and Anita Mannur, (co-authored with Anna Guevarra), New York University Press (reviewed and accepted for publication).

2023 “Queer Desi Formations: Marking the Boundaries of Cultural Belonging in Chicago,” In Pakistan Desires: Queer Futures Elsewhere, ed. Omar Kasmani, Duke University Press.

2023 Governing Gender and Sexuality in Colonial India: The Hijra, c. 1850-1900 By Jessica Hinchy, Book Review, Contributions to Indian Sociology, 57 (2): 54-56.

2022 ‘Preface’ for Hossain, Adnan, Claire Pamment and Jeff Roy. Badhai: Hijra-Khwaja Sira-Trans Performance Across Borders in South Asia, London: Bloomsbury.

2021 Dis/Placements: A People’s History of Chicago, Public History Project co-founded with Anna Guevarra,

2019 “Paradigms of Thirdness: Analyzing the Past, Present, and Potential Futures of Gender and             Sexual Meaning in South Asia,” QED: Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, Fall Special Issue.

2012 “Hijras, AIDS Cosmopolitanism’ and Questions of Izzat in Hyderabad.” Routledge International Handbook of Sexuality, Health and Rights, edited by Peter Aggleton and Richard Parker, New York: Routledge

2010 Histories of Intimacy and Situated Ethnography, (co-edited with Karen Leonard and Ann Gold). New Delhi: Manohar Press.

2006 With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South India. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, (Re-published in India with Yoda Press).

2005 “Geographies of Contagion: Hijras, Kothis, and the Politics of Sexual Marginality in India” Special issue of Anthropology and Medicine titled ‘The Ills of Marginality,’ edited by William Sax and Stefan Ecks.

2003 ‘Men’ Who Would Be Kings: Celibacy, Emasculation and the Re-Production of Hijras in Contemporary Indian Politics,’ Social Research, vol. 70 (1).

Notable Honors

2022-2023, Janet Smith Award for Best Faculty Organizer, University of Illinois Chicago United Faculty

2022-2023, Teaching Recognition Award, University of Illinois Chicago

2021-2022, Public Voices Fellow, Op-Ed Project


2000 - PhD, Anthropology, Emory University

2001 - MPH, School of Public Health (Community Health), Emory University

1992 - MA, Anthropology, Columbia University

1990 - BA, Psychology, University of Delhi

Professional Memberships

American Anthropological Association

Association for Feminist Anthropology

National Women's Studies Association

Selected Presentations

2023 “Karma of Black Folk: The Dialectics of Race and Religion in Contemporary Hyderabad” Keynote Lecture, Asian Studies, University of Houston, March

2022 “Right that Dares to Speak its Name: The Challenging Life of Sexual Minorities in India,” A Conversation with Akkai Padmashali, Northwestern University, April

2022 “Thinking Through Displacements,” Community-GLAS Partnerships, Breaking Boundaries: Pedagogies of Global Asia Symposium (sponsored by Verge), April

2022 “The Karma of Black Folk:” Siddis, Race, and the Politics of Belonging in Contemporary Hyderabad, India,” American Anthropological Association Meeting, Seattle, WA, November.

2021 “All Thirdness is Not Alike: Hijras and Questions of Sexual and Gendered Difference in India, Beyond Binary Conference, Institute for the Humanities, October

2020 “Stories from ‘Submerged Traditions:’ Making Invisible Lives Visible,” Resources and Visibility in the Digital Humanities, Public Humanities Conference, Institute for the Humanities, University of Illinois, Chicago, April

2019 Chicago Biennale Public Event (with Axis Lab) - In Search of Old Dreams: Stories of Argyle Street, October

2019 “Uptown Chronicles: An Alternative to Traditional Publishing” (co-presented with Anna Guevarra), University of Illinois Publishing Symposium, Institute for the Humanities, September.

2019 Researching Sexuality Transnationally, University of Kentucky, August.

2019 Bumbay Bibingka: Crosscurrents in the Making of a Filipina Dessert, Keynote/Plenary in Passport to the World: Year of Migration Lecture Series, University of Kentucky (co-presented with Anna Guevarra), March.

2019 “We are Indian Now:” Siddis and the Un/marking of Race in Contemporary Hyderabad,” American Anthropological Association Meeting, Vancouver CA, November.

2019 “Siddi Chronicles: A Historical Ethnography of a ‘Racial’ Category in Hyderabad, India,” South Asia Conference, Madison WI, October

2018 “Queer Issues in South Asia: A Reflection,” Keynote, Mellon Foundation Studies in Sexuality Lecture Series, Emory University, April.

2017 “’With Respect to Sex,’ Revisited,” Keynote Address, South Asia Center Annual Conference, Syracuse University, NY, October.