Kanchana Ruwanpura

BOARD MEMBER, 2021-2024

Professor of Human Geography
University of Gothenburg

Kanchana N Ruwanpura has been a member of IAFFE since its early days, when she joined IAFFE as a graduate student in 1996.  Since this time, she has been involved and grown with IAFFE through its various phases and transformation in the past two decades and half, attending it various annual conferences (the last was Geneva virtually, Glasgow in person), served as Associate Editor initially and now serving on the Editorial Board of Feminist Economics.  Within IAFFE, as an early recipient of the Rhonda Williams Prize (2005), she subsequently served for two terms on the Rhonda William Prize committee and on the Diversity Committee under the chair of Lee Badgett, while Stephanie Seguino was President. (2010-11).

Kanchana's research primarily lies at the intersection of labour, uneven development, ethnicity and feminist scholarship. Her commitment to equity, diversity and social justice is reflected in her research and service, where she has published on her research in Feminist Economics, Gender, Place and Culture and Cambridge Journal of Economics, amongst others.  She currently serves as an editor for the journal Gender, Place and Culture and is on the Editorial Board of Feminist Economics and Environment and Planning A.  Alongside her involvement with IAFFE, she served initially on the Council (2010-13) and then Treasurer (2013-16) of the British Association of South Asian Studies (BASAS) – and organized the BASAS conference at the University of Southampton in 2011 and raised funds for it.  

In addition to Kanchana’s various journal publications, she has authored books on corporate codes of conduct and labour politics in the garment sector (Cambridge University Press 2022), women-headed households in eastern Sri Lanka (University Michigan Press and Zubaan Books 2006), along with edited volumes, which most recently includes a Handbook on Gender in Asia (Edward Elgar 2020).

Vision/Priorities for IAFFE -- In a key moment in our global history, Kanchana believes IAFFE should have three priorities: 

1) Be at the forefront of making a case for social justice and feminist concerns, as interconnected issues, with the policy community, practitioners, business and civil society movements;
2) Advance and foster dialogue, educate and improve policy and scholarship (activist research) on integrating gender and feminist concerns, with sensitivity to local dynamics;
3) Critically rethink feminist methods and ways of researching - and so expand the ideological diversity of theory and method within feminist scholarship; and
4) Call for a conversation engaging the membership on what forms our future meetings should take; how it may need to be regionally based meetings and timings, if virtual; and as importantly be committed to taking environmental concerns to the forefront, as we reconsider and evaluate IAFFE’s priorities at this particular global juncture. 

-- July 2022.