Research Interests: Liberalization and aspiration, mothering, youth, gender, migration, techno-science
Leya Mathew is an Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences division of the School of Arts and Sciences at Ahmedabad University. She has a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research examines the socio-cultural transitions that have accompanied economic liberalization in India. Her previous research examined non-elite private English schooling as a socio-political expression of aspiration in a new consumer society. Her current project traces youth aspirations in the context of precaritized work conditions.
She was also part of the research group at NIAS, Bengaluru, which explored the emergence of middle-class feminisms. She is a founder member of Penn camra at the University of Pennsylvania, an interdisciplinary collective of researchers and educators committed to multimodality in knowledge production. At Ahmedabad University, she pursues research and teaching in anthropology/sociology, gender, and intersectional inequality, with a specific focus on the Indian experience in the post market reform period.
My book English Linguistic Imperialism From Below examines how the socio-cultural transformations accompanying economic liberalization radically unsettled enduring social worlds to interrupt pathways of social reproduction and avenues of social mobility. It details the implications of this transformation for mothering practices and English education. This project was awarded an AIIS (American Institute of Indian Studies) Junior Fellowship Award and an NAEd/Spencer (National Academy of Education) Dissertation Fellowship.
My current project examines how youth masculinities and femininities are being reworked in contemporary India and how this affects higher education in technoscience. This project is supported by an NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship.
Mathew, L. (2022). English linguistic imperialism from below: Moral aspiration and social mobility. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Mathew, L. (2022). Festivalization of rigor: Productivity of masti [playfulness] at a pharmacy college in India, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, doi: 10.1111/AEQ.12412
Mathew, L. (2022). The merit of medicine: Science aspirations in India, Cultural Studies of Science Education. doi:10.1007/s11422-021-10088-y
Mathew, L., & Lukose, R. (2020). Special issue introduction: Pedagogies of aspiration: Anthropological perspectives on education in liberalizing India. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 43(4): 691-704.
Mathew, L. (2018). Mandated resistance, embodied shame: The material and affective contours of a TESOL method. TESOL Quarterly 52(4): 748-771. doi:10.1002/tesq.420
Mathew, L. (2018). Aspiring and aspiration shaming: Primary schooling, English, and enduring inequalities in liberalizing Kerala (India). Anthropology and Education Quarterly. 49(1):72-88. doi:10.1111/aeq.12234
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF EDUCATION/SPENCER FOUNDATION, 2019-21
Postdoctoral Fellowship USD 70000
SPENCER FOUNDATION, 2019-20
Conference Grant for Advancing Education Research USD 49868 with Mary Ann Chacko, Karishma Desai, R. Maithreyi, and Vidya Subramanian
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF EDUCATION/SPENCER FELLOWSHIP, 2015-16
Dissertation Writing Fellowship USD 27500
AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF INDIAN STUDIES, 2014
Dissertation Fieldwork Fellowship INR 539000