St John's College Oxford
Dr Sneha Krishnan

Dr Sneha Krishnan

Junior Research Fellow in Human Geography


I am currently a Junior Research Fellow in Human Geography, with interests in South Asian Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies. I have taught both undergraduate and graduate students at Oxford in Modern South Asian Studies and Human Geography. 

I received my DPhil in Development Studies at Oxford in 2015, where I was supervised by Professor Nandini Gooptu. I have a Masters Degree in Contemporary India from Oxford (2010), and a BA in History (2009) from Stella Maris College, Chennai.

Research Interests

I study gender and education in post-colonial India, looking in particular at how young women’s lives have been shaped by colonial discourses about childhood, capacity and maturity. 

Sneha Krishnan poster

My book in preparation is A Future in Past Tense: Girlhood and the Ethics of Time in South India. This uses feminist transnational theory to look at the temporal imaginaries that underpin everyday ethical practice among middle class college girls in Chennai. It dislocates the history of girlhood from that of the postcolonial nation-state, by instead locating it within Tamil and South Indian articulations of modernity that emerged in dialogue with transnational Christian, spiritualist and progressive social movements in the early 20th century. 

My second project addresses ethnicity and cultures of memorialisation among Tamil communities in Guadeloupe. I am also currently involved in research collaborations on urban cultural history, childhood and imperialism, and youth suicide. 


‘Style-ish Girls and Local Boys: Young Women and Fashion in Chennai’ in Reina Lewis, Lipi Begum and Rohit Dasgupta (eds.), Styling South Asian Youth Cultures: Fashion, Media and Society (IB Tauris Dress Culture Series).

‘Bitch don’t be a lesbian: Selfies, Selves and Same-Sex Desire’ in Rohit Dasgupta and Debanuj Dasgupta (eds.), Queering Digital Activisms: Intimacies and Subjectivities in India (Edinburgh University Press).

Review: 'Ethnic Church meets Mega Church: Indian American Christianity in Motion by Prema Ann Kurien' in Reading Religion: A Publication of the American Academy of Religion.

Review:  'Duress: Imperial Durabilities in our Times by Ann Laura Stoler' in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Co-editor with Megan Robb and Elizabeth Chatterjee, ‘Urban Emotions: Responses to the South Asian City, c. 1850–1950’, special issue of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. 27, no. 4.

Anxious Notes on College Life: The Gossipy Journals of Eleanor McDougall’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol.27, no. 4.

Co-author with Megan Robb and Elizabeth Chatterjee, ‘Feeling Modern: The History of Emotions in Urban South Asia’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol.27, no.4.

Co-author with Nandini Gooptu, ‘Tension’, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, vol. 40, no.2.

‘Agency, Intimacy, and Rape Jokes: An Ethnographic Study of Young Women and Sexual Risk in Chennai’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 22, no.1.

'Dispatches from a Rogue Ethnographer: Exploring Homophobia and Queer Visibility in the Field’, Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford, New Series, vol. 7, no. 1, 2015

'Responding to Rape: Feminism and Young Middle-Class Women in India', in Margaret Alston (ed.) Women Political Struggles and Gender Equality in South Asia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

Review: 'Sex or the Unbearable by Lauren Berlant and Lee Edelman' in Emotion Space and Society, vol. 15,  2015. 

Review: 'Media, Erotics and Transnational Asia ed. by Purnima Mankekar and Louisa Schein'  in Contemporary South Asia, vol. 22, 2014. 

Review: 'Queer Activism in India: A Story in the Anthropology of Ethics by Naisargi Dave' in Contemporary South Asia, vol. 21, 2013.