McMicken College of Arts & SciencesMcMicken College of Arts & SciencesUniversity of Cincinnati

McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

Faculty & Staff Profile

Laura D. Jenkins

Title:  Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty Affiliate Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies and Asian Studies
Office:  1114 Crosley Tower
Tel: 513-556-3308

Laura Dudley Jenkins is an Associate Professor of Political Science and affiliated with Asian Studies and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies.  Her research focuses on social justice policies in the context of culturally diverse democracies, especially India. 

Jenkins' book on affirmative action examines the politics of caste, class, religion, and gender.  In her articles, she analyzes religious freedom and conversion, competing minorities’ claims for affirmative action, colonial and contemporary government anthropology, the role of social science in anti-discrimination law, and reserved legislative seats for women. Her book chapters include her research on religious family law systems, mass religious conversion as a route to social mobility, and comparative affirmative action. 
As a Fulbright New Century Scholar, she researched access and equity in higher education in India and South Africa. She received fellowships from the Fulbright Hays program, the Dartmouth Humanities Center, and the United States Institute of Peace.

For more information see

Select publications:
Identity and Identification in India: Defining the Disadvantaged. London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon 2003, reissued in paperback by Routledge 2009.

"Scheduled Castes, Christians and Muslims: The politics of macro-majorities and micro-minorities." In Rowena Robinson, ed. Minority Studies. Oxford University Press, 2012.

With Harita Patel. "India's democracy: Success against the odds." IN Mary Malone, ed. Achieving democracy: Democracy in theory and practice. Continuum Books, 2011.

"Caste discrimination and reservations." In Hinduism and Law: In Introduction. ed. by Donald Davis, Timothy Lubin and Jayanth Krishnan. Cambridge University Press, 2010. 
"Diversity and the Constitution in India: What is Religious Freedom?" Drake Law Review 57, 4 (summer 2009) pp. 913-947.
"Legal limits on religious conversion in India," Law and Contemporary Problems 71, 2 (spring 2008) pp. 109-127.
"Women's empowerment through religious conversion: Voices of Buddhists in Nagpur, India" in Manu Bhagavan and Anne Feldhaus, eds. Speaking truth to power: Religion, caste and the subaltern question in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2008.

“True Believers? Agency and Sincerity in Representations of ‘Mass Movement’ Converts in 1930s India” in Dennis Washburn and A. Kevin Reinhart, eds. Converting Cultures: Religion, Ideology and Transformations of Modernity, Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2007.
With Theano Terkenli and Marcia Bellas “Tourism impacts on local life: Socio-cultural continuity and change in Crete.” Aegean Geographical Journal, 16, 1-2 (2007) pp. 37-52.
“Race, Caste and Justice: Social Science Categories and Antidiscrimination Policies in India and the United States.” Connecticut Law Review 36, 3 (spring 2004) pp. 747-85.

"Another 'People of India' project: Colonial and national anthropology," Journal of Asian Studies 62, 4 (Nov 2003) pp. 1143-1170.

Select classes: Politics of South Asia, Women & sustainable de


PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, 1998 (political science).

MA , University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, 1993 (political science).

BA, Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin, 1991 (government and music).

Research Support

(PI) Jenkins, Laura, Affirmative Action in India: Access and Equity in Higher Education through Reservation Policies., Department of State. (SRS 005166); $37,000.00. Date: 03/01/2007 to 12/31/2008. Status: Active.