Dr Hamsa Rajan

DPhil (Oxon), MSc London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, BSFS Georgetown University


Dr. Rajan is a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow in the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies. Using qualitative and ethnographic research methods, she has investigated family abuse and intimate partner violence in the Tibetan communities of Qinghai province, China. Her publications explore the economic and social structures underpinning women’s vulnerability to abuse in the home; local Tibetan discourses around the topic of women’s rights; and the question of how and whether theories arising primarily from Western country contexts can be relevant to the experience of family abuse in Tibetan regions and other non-Western settings. Currently, her work continues to focus on dynamics and patterns of family relationships in the region, including the interplay between these dynamics and broader social and political forces.  

Prior to becoming an academic, Dr. Rajan worked for many years in the fields of public health and education, as a consultant for the World Health Organization, as a staff member of an NGO tasked with improving public health in rural Tibetan villages, as a secondary school teacher in Tibetan and Chinese schools, and as a Chinese-English and Tibetan-English translator and interpreter. 


Dr. Rajan teaches students on the MSc Contemporary Chinese Studies course in the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies. She supervises MSc theses, and contributes teaching to the Sociology of China and Qualitative Research Methods modules.   


Dr. Rajan’s work lies in the intersections of feminist theory, area studies, and sociology/anthropology.


Journal articles

(2018). The Ethics of Transnational Feminist Research and Activism: An Argument for a More Comprehensive View.

Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 43(2).



(2016). 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. 24(1).



(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).



(2015). The Discourse of Tibetan Women’s Empowerment Activists.

Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines. 33.



(2014). 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).




Academic blog posts


(2016). Tibetan Women Adapt to Qinghai Modernity.

University of Nottingham China Policy Institute blog.



(2016). The Vital Work of Pragna Patel.

University of Oxford St. Hilda's College Feminist Salon blog.






(2011). 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.