Dr. Ashwini Tambe

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Dr. Ashwini Tambe

Director of WGSS; Professor of WGSS and History

Core Faculty


Office Phone: (202) 994-2563

Ashwini Tambe is Director of WGSS and Professor of History and WGSS at George Washington University. Dr. Tambe is a scholar of transnational South Asian history who focuses on the relationship between law, gender, and sexuality. She is also the Editorial Director of Feminist Studies, the oldest journal of interdisciplinary feminist scholarship in the United States. Over the past two decades, she has written about how South Asian societies regulate sexual practices. Her 2009 book Codes of Misconduct: Regulating Prostitution in Late Colonial Bombay (University of Minnesota Press) traces how law-making and law-enforcement practices shaped the rise of the city's red light district. Her 2019 book Defining Girlhood in India: A Transnational Approach to Sexual Maturity Laws (University of Illinois Press) explores how the expectation of sexual innocence is distributed in uneven ways for girls across class and caste groups. Both books examine the direction and flow of transnational influences. Her new book Transnational Feminist Itineraries (Duke University Press 2021, co-edited with Millie Thayer), features essays by leading gender studies scholars confronting authoritarianism and religious and economic fundamentalism.

Dr. Tambe has received grants from NEH, SSHRC, the Toyota Foundation, University of Maryland-College Park, University of Toronto, and Georgetown University to support her research. For her doctoral advising, she has received a Graduate Mentor of the Year Award from University of Maryland in 2018. She has served as the editorial director of the flagship peer-reviewed journal Feminist Studies for ten years. She was the Ford Foundation Public Interest Law Chair at ILS Law College in Pune, India during a sabbatical. She has also been a board member of academic and community organizations such as the Potomac Center for the Study of Modernity, Sutradhar Institute for Dance and Related Arts, and the Toronto Women’s Bookstore. Her public writing has been featured in numerous outlets and she has offered keynote addresses at venues such as MIT, University of Chicago, Press Club of Bengaluru, St. Mary’s College, Fairfield University, and National Institute for Advanced Studies, India.

Transnational South Asian history; Law, gender, and sexuality; Global political economy; Transnational feminist theory


Tambe, A. (2019). Defining Girlhood in India: A Transnational History of Sexual Maturity Laws. Urbana-Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Tambe, A. (2009). Codes of Misconduct: Regulating Prostitution in Late Colonial Bombay. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. (A South Asian edition was published by the leading feminist press Zubaan, New Delhi.)

Edited Volumes

Tambe, A. and Thayer, M. (eds.) (2021). Transnational Feminist Itineraries: Situating Theory and Activism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 

Tambe, A. and Fischer-Tiné, H. (eds.) (2008). The Limits of Colonial Control in South Asia: Spaces of Disorder in the Indian Ocean. London: Routledge.

Refereed Articles and Book Chapters

Tambe, A. and Rellihan, H. (2022) “An Interview with Ashwini Tambe, Editorial Director, Feminist Studies” Women’s Studies Quarterly, 50, 3&4: 294-298.

Tambe, A. (2021), “Afterword: Walking Alongside Many #MeToos,” in A Dossier on #MeToo and Transnational Gender Justice, Feminist Formations 33 (3): 349-357.

Tambe, A. and Thayer, M. (2021). The Many Destinations of Transnational Feminism. Chapter 1 in A. Tambe and M. Thayer (eds.), Transnational Feminist Itineraries, pp.13- 36. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Tambe, A. (2020) “The Moral Hierarchies of Age Standards: The UN Debates a Common Minimum Marriage Age, 1951-1962,” in American Historical Review, 125, 2: 451-459, in AHR Roundtable “Chronological Age: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis” eds. C. Field and N. Syrett.

Tambe, A. (2020). Indian Americans in the Trump Era: A Transnational Feminist Analysis. In L. A. Saraswati and B. Shaw (eds.), Feminist & Queer Theory: A Transnational Reader, pp.468-474. New York: Oxford University Press.

Montague, C. and Tambe, A. (2020). Women’s Studies. In N. Naples (ed.), Companion to Women’s and Gender Studies, pp.25-10. Sussex, UK: Wiley Blackwell.

Tambe, A. (2019). “From Romance to Reproduction: Pre- and Post-Independence Covers in a Marathi Women’s Magazine,” South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 43, 1: 1-31.

Tambe, A. (2019). Social Geographies of Bombay’s Sex Trade: 1880-1920. In P. Kidambi, M. Kamat, R. Dwyer (eds.), Bombay Before Mumbai: Essays in Honor of Jim Masselos, pp. 147-167. London: Hurst and Co./ New York: Oxford University Press.

Tambe, A. (2018). “Reckoning with the Silences of #MeToo,” Feminist Studies, 44, 1: 197-203.

Tambe, A. and Bhatia, R. (2014). “Raising the Age of Marriage in 1970s India: Demographers, Despots, and Feminists,” Women’s Studies International Forum, 44 (May-June): 89-100.

Tambe, A. and Tambe, S. (2013). “Sexual Incitement, Spectatorship and Economic Liberalization in Contemporary India,” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 15 (4): 494-510.

Tambe, A. (2011). “Climate, Race Science and the Age of Consent in the League of Nations,” Theory, Culture and Society, 28 (2): 109-130.

Tambe, A. (2010). “Contributions of Transnational Feminism: A Brief Sketch,” New Global Studies, 4:1, article 7.

Tambe, A. (2009). “Gandhi’s Fallen Sisters: Difference and the National Body Politic,” Social Scientist, Special Issue on Gandhi, Jan-Feb, 37, 1-2, 21-38.

American University, PhD International Studies, 2000
Bangalore University, MS Communication, 1992
Bangalore University, Mount Carmel College, BA, 1990
Alliance Française de Bangalore, Diplôme de la Littérature Française, 1988