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Apr 5 2022

Travails of Traveling: How Does Gender Influence Public Transport Choices?

Feminisms Lunch Lectures

April 5, 2022

12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Nirupama Jayaraman, seen from the chest up, smiling toward the camera. Behind her is a photo of a public bus in Madurai, washed in a purple and pink gradient. White and yellow text describes the event.

Join us for a virtual presentation of work in progress by UIC Anthropology PhD student Nirupama Jayaraman exploring the relationship between gendered mobility and access to public transportation:

Building on scholarship in both gender and urban anthropology, my project will explore the relationship between gender and mobility, within the routinely used public transport bus network, considered public space within this project, in the South Indian Tier II city of Madurai. To explore the relation between gendered usage and the ensuing inequality of access to transport infrastructure in a small city, my project will ask the following questions: What impact does the spatial context of smaller cities have on public transport as a gendered experience? How does people’s gender (perceived and self-identified) play a role in their usage of public transport? Who are the external (state) actors that influence, through gender focused policies, everyday transport decisions and how?

Findings from this project will help contribute to ethnographic understandings of gendered mobility, examine spaces of consumption within transportation, and augment interdisciplinary interventions to existing mobilities discourses on cities of the Global South across anthropology, gender studies, and urban planning.

The presentation will be followed by a response from Dr. Tarini Bedi, Associate Professor of Anthropology, and Dr. Sanjeev Vidyarthi, Professor and Director, Master of City Design Program, Urban Planning and Policy, as well as audience Q&A.

CART live captioning will be provided. Please send any questions or access requests to


WLRC's Feminisms Lunch Lectures series offers faculty, staff, students, visiting scholars, and activists an opportunity to present their projects, ideas, and works-in-progress on a wide range of topics and engage participants in lively and provocative discussion. For 2021 and 2022, WLRC is partnering with the Gender and Women’s Studies department to feature UIC graduate students and others whose current research, creative, or community projects engage feminist movements and scholarship.




Date posted

Feb 28, 2022

Date updated

Mar 10, 2022


Nirupama Jayaraman | PhD Student, Anthropology | University of Illinois Chicago

Nirupama Jayaraman is an urban anthropologist, with research interests spanning the interdisciplinary fields of sociocultural anthropology, cultural geography, science and technology studies, gender studies and urban planning. As part of her dissertation research, she studies gendered mobility and access to public transportation infrastructure in the South Indian city of Madurai. She holds an MA in Development Studies from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras where her postgraduate thesis focused on understanding the politics of heritage and urbanization in Chennai, India. Nirupama also has prior experience working in the public policy and development consultancy sectors in India. She currently freelances as a translator and interpreter for Auxohub, India.

Dr. Tarini Bedi | Associate Professor, Anthropology | University of Illinois Chicago

I am an economic, political, and urban anthropologist who conducts research in South Asia and more recently in Southeast Asia. My research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of urban and political anthropology, anthropology of infrastructure, roads, and mobilities, cultural geography, and gender studies. My first book, The Dashing Ladies of Shiv Sena: Political Matronage in Urbanizing India (2016, SUNY Press) develops a feminist theory of brokerage politics. It is particularly interested in the expressive, masculinized, and visual forms of politics utilized by low- level women politicians in Western India. My second book, (Auto)Biographies and (Auto) Mobilities: Roads, Labor and Kinship in Mumbai’s Taxi Trade is under contract and forthcoming with the University of Washington's Global South Asia Series. This book provides some perspective on Indian automobility and its making of lives, roads and kin relations through the 20th century and into the present. I am currently completing my third manuscript, tentatively entitled, Globalization, Platforms, and the Affective Labor of Motoring Men looks at the connections between masculine embodiment, bodily debilitation, technology and driving in India and Singapore. I am also beginning a new project that explores connections between religious mobilities, road transport, and pilgrimage in South Asia. My current fieldwork and research have been generously supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, The National Science Foundation’s Cultural Anthropology Program, and the American Institute of Indian Studies. I welcome inquiries from graduate students with related research interests.

Dr. Sanjeev Vidyarthi | Professor and Director, Master of City Design Program, Urban Planning and Policy | University of Illinois Chicago

Trained as an architect, urban designer and spatial planner, Sanjeev studies how to make better plans for places. Exploring spatial plans and city design efforts in a variety of settings, like planned neighborhoods, new towns, historic cities, and mega-regions, his research explores who does (and should do) the planning work. Sanjeev has lived, worked and studied in the Middle East, Western Europe, and the United States while examining the case of city planning in contemporary India. His scholarship combines a comparative lens, integrative framework, and insider/outsider perspective. Sanjeev works with progressive scholars and professional practitioners worldwide.