Vandana Chaudhry

Assistant Professor (Tenure and promotion to Associate Professor effective 9/1/19)

Vandana Chaudhry is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work at the City University of New York – College of Staten Island, where she has been recently granted tenure and promotion to Associate Professor effective 9/1/19. She came to CSI in 2012 after completing her doctoral studies in Social Work and Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on disability in the Global South, neoliberal governance, culturally and structurally competent practices, and disability justice. Her multi-year ethnographic work explores disability at the nexus of development, globalization and the politics of subject-formation in rural South India, through the examination of microfinance, community based approaches and disability pensions. She theorizes rural disability within the framework of capacity and debility produced through transnational processes of collective precarity, rural underdevelopment, and structural violence, along the intersecting lines of caste, class, gender, location, and the state. In doing so, her work moves away from dominant liberal Euro-American disability and social work paradigms and towards decolonizing disability epistemologies, methodologies and practices from the perspective of the Global South. Dr. Chaudhry has published widely across the disciplines of disability studies, social work, and interdisciplinary social sciences, with her work appearing in Disability and Society, International Social Work, and Qualitative Inquiry, among others. Her article “Living at the Edge: Disability, Gender, and Neoliberal Debtscapes of Microfinance in India” received the 2016 Affilia Award for Distinguished Feminist Scholarship and Praxis in Social Work. Her work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, National Science Foundation and CUNY, among others. She is currently working on a book project that examines contradictions of neoliberal governmentality for people with disabilities in the context of disability microfinance projects of the World Bank in rural areas of south India. She is also working on a second interconnected project that examines politics of disability assessment, certification and state pensions in light of digital governance and techno-mediated surveillance in India. As a scholar of and with disability, Dr. Chaudhry’s research is oriented towards building knowledge that embraces disability as intrinsic to human diversity, and to promote policies that enable self-determination and full participation for all.


Ph.D. University of Illinois, Chicago

Master of Philosophy in Social Work, Delhi School of Social Work

M.S.W., University of Delhi

B.A., University of Delhi

Scholarship and Publications

Chaudhry, V. (Forthcoming). Disability in Rural Worlds. Somatosphere.

Chaudhry, V. (2019). Disability and Colonialism. In Heller, Harris, Gill, & Gould (eds). Disability in American Life: An Encyclopedia of Concepts, Policies, and Controversies. ABC-CLIO Press.

Chaudhry, V. (2018). Centering Embodiment in Disability Research through Performance Ethnography. Qualitative Social Work. DOI: 10.1177/1473325018767728 (Online first)
Chaudhry, V. (2018). Neoliberal Crises of Social Work in the Global South: Ethnography of Individualizing Disability and Empowerment Practice in India. International Social Work. DOI: 10.1177/0020872818767501. (Online first)
Chaudhry, V. (2018).  Capacity, Debility and Differential Inclusion: The Politics of Microfinance in South India. Disability Studies Quarterly, 38(1) (Open access; online).
Chaudhry, V. (2018). Knowing Through Tripping: A Performative Praxis for Co-Constructing Knowledge as a Disabled Halfie. Qualitative Inquiry 24(1) 70-82.
Chaudhry, V. (2016). Laboring Self-help: Dialectics of Disability and Development in South India. Somatechnics, 6(2) 179-197.
Chaudhry, V. (2016). Living at the Edge: Disability, Gender, and Neoliberal Debtscapes of Microfinance in India. Affilia, 31(2) 177-191.
Chaudhry, V. (2015). Neoliberal Disorientations: Changing Landscapes of Disability and Governance in India. Disability and Society, 30(8) 1158-1173.
Chaudhry, V., & Shipp, T. (2005). Rethinking the digital divide in relation to visual disability in India and the United States: Towards a paradigm of information inequity. Disability Studies Quarterly, 25(2) (Open access).

Last Updated: 02.13.19

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