Mahua Sarkar

Mahua Sarkar
Telephone number
Building HL 482

Mahua Sarkar received her PhD in Sociology and Comparative International Development from the Johns Hopkins University. Before joining the faculty at the University of Toronto in 2021, she was Professor of Sociology, and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Binghamton University, New York.

A historical sociologist by training, Professor Sarkar’s research and teaching is interdisciplinary and spans a range of topics including contemporary guest-work regimes with particular focus on Bangladeshi male migrants; gestational surrogacy as a new form of racialized and gendered labour; free and unfree/constrained work under global capitalism; religious nationalisms in South Asia; Muslim and Hindu identity formation and the gender question in late colonial Bengal; and epistemological debates underlying qualitative research methods. Her current writing project is an advanced monograph entitled Bidesh Kara (Going Abroad): Bangladeshi Contract Migrants and Contemporary Guest Work.

Professor Sarkar is a recipient of multiple prestigious international fellowships that include a France-ILO Chair and Fellowship at the Institut d’Etudes Avancées de Nantes, a EURIAS and Marie Curie Fellowship at the Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin, a fellowship at Re:work, Humboldt University, Berlin, and a Visiting Senior Fellowship at the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore. She serves as a series editor for Work in Global and Historical Perspective (De Gruyter Oldenbourg, Berlin and Boston), and is part of an international feminist research network on the Epistemologies of Care (based in Duke University and the University of Amsterdam).

Professor Sarkar teaches courses on gender, transnational migration and global labour history, global political economy and critical development studies, and qualitative research methods.


Visible Histories / Disappearing Women: Producing Muslim Womanhood in Late Colonial Bengal. Durham: Duke University Press, 2008.

Work out of Place, Mahua Sarkar (ed.), Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2017.

L’action incertaine. Le contrat de travail temporaire transnational en tant que risque [Uncertain Action: Transnational Temporary Contract Work as Risk]”. In Marc-Henry Soulet (ed.), Action et Incertitude: les épreuves de l’incertain, 457-483. Basel and Berlin: Schwabe Verlag, 2018.

“When Maternity is Paid-Work: Commercial Gestational Surrogacy at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century.” In Eileen Boris, Dorothea Hoehtker, and Susan Zimmermann (eds.) Women’s ILO: Transnational Networks, Working Conditions, and Gender Equality, 340-364, ILO Century Series. Leiden: Brill, 2018.

“Constrained Labour as Instituted Process: Transnational Contract Work and Circular Migration in Late Capitalism.” European Journal of Sociology/Archives Européennes de Sociologie, 58, 1, 2017: 171-204.

“The Flipside of the Integration Question: Guestworker Regimes and Temporary/Circular/Managed Migration in Global History”. Refugee Watch, 49 (July 2017): 1-25.

“Changing Together, Changing Apart: Urban Muslim and Hindu Women in Pre-Partition Bengal.” History and Memory, Vol. 27, No. 1(Spring/Summer 2015): 5-42.

“Between Craft and Method: Meaning and Inter-Subjectivity in Oral History Analysis.” The Journal of Historical Sociology Vol. 25, No. 4 (December 2012): 578-600.

“Difference in Memory”, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 48, 1 (January 2006): 139-68.

Looking for Feminism.” Gender & History, 16, 2 (August, 2004): 318-333.

Why Does the West Need to Save Muslim Women? A Review Essay” based on Lila Abu-Lughod, Do Muslim Women Need Saving? 2013. Cultural Critique, 95 (Winter 2017): 244-262.