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Changing (In)Fertilities



Dr. Sharmila Rudrappa is professor in sociology and Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She’s also core faculty at the Center for Asian American Studies, and the Center for Women & Gender Studies. And she’s faculty affiliate at the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the Law School in UT-Austin. She’s written widely on South Asian immigration into the U.S., high wage labor migrations, domestic violence, and markets in assisted reproductive services. She is author of two award-winning monographs, Ethnic Routes to Becoming American: Indian Immigrants and the Cultures of Citizenship (2004), and Discounted Life: The Price of Global Surrogacy in India. Currently she is working on three research projects: high wage workers in India and fertility decision-making; global markets in human hair; and, the social ecologies of viral tropical diseases. Dr. Rudrappa teaches graduate and undergraduate seminars in feminist theory, labor, migration, and reproductive justice. When not teaching she hangs out with her three dogs, two children, and one cat, all the while trying to garden and fending off various snakes that slither up from Austin’s creeks.


Key publications: 


2015  Discounted Life: The Price of Global Surrogacy in India. New York, NY: New York University Press. 224 pages.

  • (Forthcoming) Translated into Chinese. Sanhui Press Ltd.
  • Co-winner, Best Transnational/ Asia book, Asia/ Asian America Section, American Sociological Association, 2016.
  • Finalist, C. Wright Mills Award, Society for the Study of Social Problems. 2016.

2004  Ethnic Routes to Becoming American: Indian Immigrants and the Cultures of Citizenship. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. 256 pages.

  • Honorable Mention, Book Award in Social Sciences, Association for Asian American Studies, 2006


Peer reviewed articles and book chapters

2018 Land, Women and Techno-pastoral Development in Southern Karnataka, India. Reproductive Biomedicine and Society Online. Vol. 7, Nov 2018.

“Reconsiderations of Race: Commissioning Parents and Transnational Surrogacy in India” chapter in Reconsidering Race: Social Science and Racial Categories in the Age of Genomics, edited by Kazuko Suzuki and Diego von Vacano (Oxford University Press).

2017 “Reproducing Dystopia: The Politics of Transnational Surrogacy in India, 2002-2015,” Special issue in Critical Sociology, edited by Jennifer Chun, Heidi Gottfried, and Ito Peng. November 2017 (44:7/8).

  • Revised version. “Why is India’s Ban on Commercial Surrogacy Bad for Women?” North Carolina Journal of International Law & Commercial Regulation. Spring 2018, 43 (4): 70-94.
  • Abbreviated version (1000 words), “Pregnancy and Childbirth as Wage Labor,” Global Dialogue, Vol. 8 (2). July 2018.

2016 “What to Expect When You’re Expecting: The Affective Economies of Consuming Surrogacy in India.” Positions: Asia Critique, 24 (1).     

“From Manufacturing Clothes to Manufacturing Babies: Economic Precarity and Labor Options Among Surrogate Mothers in Bangalore, India.” Edited by Virginie Rozée Gomez and Unisa Sayeed. Assisted Reproductive Technologies in the Global South and North: Issues, Challenges and the Future. Routledge, London.

Conceiving Fatherhood: Gay Men and Indian Surrogate Mothers.” In Globalized Fatherhood. Edited by Marcia Inhorn, Wendy Chavkin, and Jose-Alberto Navarro. Oxford, UK: Berghahn Books, 291-311.

2015 Co-authored with Caitlyn Collins. “Altruistic Agencies and Compassionate Consumers: Moral Framing of Transnational Surrogacy.” Gender & Society. Dec 2015. 29 (6): 932-959.

2014 “Des ateliers de confection aux lignes d’assemblage des bébés. Stratégies d’emploi parmi des mères porteuses à Bangalore, Inde” [From sweatshops to intimate labor: Employment strategies among surrogate mothers in Bangalore, India]. Cahiers du Genre, 56, 59-86.

2012 “Working India’s Reproductive Assembly Line: Surrogacy and Reproductive Rights?” Western Humanities Review, 66(3), 77-101.

India’s Reproductive Assembly Line.” Contexts, 11(2), 22-27.

  • 2017, Gender, Sexuality, and Intimacy: A Contexts Reader. Edited by Jodi O’Brien and Arlene Stein. Sage Publications.
  • Reprinted in Deviance and Social Control: A Sociological Perspective. 2nd edition. Edited by Michelle Inderbitzin, Kristin A. Bates, and Randy R. Gainey. Sage Publications, 2016, 570-574.
  • Reprinted in Reproduction and Society: Interdisciplinary Readings. Edited by Carole Joffe and Jennifer Reich. New York, NY: Routledge, 2015, 110-114.
  • 2012 – 2014 Claude Award for Best Feature Article (International) in Contexts.
  • Translated into German and reprinted in Utne Reader in fall 2014.
  • Revised version translated into Kannada and reprinted in Prajavani, the largest circulating weekly in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, in 2013.

2009  “Cyber-Coolies and Techno-Braceros: Race and Commodification of Indian Information Technology Guest Workers in the United States.” University of San Francisco Law Review, 44(2), 353-372.

2007  “Madness, Diasporic Difference, and State Violence: Explaining Filicide in American Courts.” Cultural Dynamics, 19(2-3), 257-277.

Department of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin
 Sharmila  Rudrappa
Not available for consultancy