Pronoy Rai

Assistant Professor


Office hours will be held by appointment. To make an appointment please email Dr. Rai to arrange a convenient time and contact method.


human-environment geographies, development and labor migration, gender and masculinities, agro-ecological change, South Asia


In my current research project (2013-present), I examine labor migration in rural western India to understand the relations between the seasonal migration of socio-politically and economically marginalized agrarian populations and social change in migrant home villages. I have published my ongoing research in Environment and Planning AGender, Place and Culture and Geoforum. I have been conducting research in Yavatmal district in the drylands of rural western India since 2011 by applying qualitative research methods and surveys, and my project has been supported by the Social Science Research Council and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A paper based on my dissertation was awarded the 2019 J. Warren Nystrom Award by the American Association of Geographers.

Previously (2011-13), I have studied the politics of food-based entitlements in the region to explain a) the distribution of endowments (that can be exchanged for food) among various agrarian communities and b) food-based entitlements as biopolitics that embroils populations occupying multiple social locations and variegated relations with the development state. I have co-published this research in the Journal of Rural Studies, and my project was supported by Ohio University and the Friends of India Endowment Trust in Athens, Ohio.

I am currently developing a new research project to examine the relations between climate change and labor migration at a scale that has received limited attention in scholarship, i.e. internal migration within a nation-state. Building on my long-term studies of agro-ecological and socio-political change in rural western India, I seek to understand how climate change is impacting 1) labor-linked agricultural production, and thus, socially, farmer-labor relations; 2) migrant laborers’ livelihood in and away from their home villages; and 3) new gender negotiations in production and social reproduction, as climate change deepens the social vulnerability of marginalized populations. A Faculty Enhancement Grant from Portland State University is supporting this research.


  • INTL 201 Introduction to International Studies 
  • INTL/WS 349U Gender and International Development
  • INTL 375U Global Migration 
  • INTL 407 Seminar: Climate Change and International Development
  • INTL 415 Global Studies Theories
  • Ph. D.
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign