Dr Hamsa Rajan

British Academy Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies

Beginning in 2003, I lived in China for six years, in Nanjing, Jiangsu province as well as in various towns of Qinghai, home to many officially designated ‘Tibetan autonomous’ prefectures.  Prior to becoming an academic, my time in China was spent working in various capacities, as a staff member of two non-profit foundations, one aiding orphans and disabled children, and the other improving public health knowledge and infrastructure in remote Tibetan villages and nomadic settlements; as an English teacher in both Chinese- and Tibetan-medium secondary schools; and as a Chinese-English and Tibetan-English translator and interpreter.  I am extremely fortunate to have had years of immersion in local life, which has allowed me to obtain a high level of fluency in both Chinese and Tibetan. 

More recently, my time in China is spent in research and fieldwork.  I research gender relations in Tibetan families, including dynamics of abuse, the ways in which household economic production impacts women’s vulnerability to maltreatment in the home, and interactions between gender relations and ethnic minority politics.  My work falls in the intersections of Sinology, sociology/anthropology, and feminist theory. 

  • DPhil Social Policy, University of Oxford (2017)
  • MSc Reproductive and Sexual Health Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2009)
  • BSFS (Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service) Asian Studies, Georgetown University (2004)


Journal articles


The Ethics of Transnational Feminist Research and Activism: An Argument for a More Comprehensive View. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.


When Wife-Beating is Not Necessarily Abuse: A Feminist and Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Concept of Abuse as Expressed by Tibetan Survivors of Domestic Violence.

Violence Against Women.  Pre-published November 20, 2016

Health Worker Attitudes to Intimate Partner Violence on the Tibetan Plateau: A Qualitative Assessment of Cultural and Material Factors Behind Non-Interventionist Attitudes.

Co-authored: Rajan, H., Kiss, L., Devries, K., and Zimmerman, C.  Global Journal of Health Education and Promotion. 17 (2). 


The Discourse of Tibetan Women’s Empowerment Activists. Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines. No. 33.  


The Impact of Household Form and Marital Residence on the Economic Dimensions of Women’s Vulnerability to Domestic Violence. The Case of Tibetan Communities.

Genus: Journal of Population Sciences. 70 (2-3).  (http://scistat.cilea.it/index.php/genus/article/view/576/289)


Academic blog posts


Tibetan Women Adapt to Qinghai Modernity.

University of Nottingham China Policy Institute blog.



The Vital Work of Pragna Patel.

University of Oxford St. Hilda's College Feminist Salon blog. (https://sthildasfeministsalon.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/the-vital-work-of-pragna-patel/)




Gender Mainstreaming in Emerging Disease Surveillance and Response: Western Pacific Region.

Co-authored: Rajan, H. and Bhushan, A.

Official background document to the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health. (http://www.who.int/sdhconference/resources/draft_background_paper16_wpacific.pdf)