Shirin M Rai

Shirin M Rai is the Distinguished Research Professor at the Department of Politics and International Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). She is a Fellow of the British Academy.

She came to the UK from India to pursue her doctoral studies in the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Cambridge, where she worked across disciplinary boundaries and began to develop a more capacious approach to her work on politics. Her doctoral thesis was Education in Post-Mao China: Perspectives on political participation and policy implementationwhich was published as Resistance and Reaction: University Politics in Post-Mao China (1991).

Shirin Rai secured a position at the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick in 1989 and taught and researched there until 2022. She was the founding Director of Warwick Interdisciplinary Research Centre for International Development (WICID)

Shirin Rai has written extensively on issues of gender, governance and development and was Director of the Leverhulme Trust programme on Gendered Ceremony and Ritual in Parliament (2007-2011). Building on this work she published, Performing Representation, a commentary on women MPs in the Indian Parliament. She is the co-editor of the Oxford Handbook on Politics and Performance.

She is Visiting Professor at the Gender Institute, London School of Economics, 2021-25 and has been Senior Fellow, The M.S. Merian – R. Tagore International Centre of Advanced Studies in 2019-20, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), New Delhi; Ford Visiting Professor, 2016, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; Honorary Adjunct Professor, Monash University, Australia, 2014 –