Meet Rithika Kumar, 2020 APSA Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grantee

The American Political Science Association is pleased to announce the Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (DDRIG) Awardees for 2020. The APSA DDRIG program provides support to enhance and improve the conduct of doctoral dissertation research in political science. Awards support basic research which is theoretically derived and empirically oriented.

Rithika Kumar, University of Pennsylvania

Rithika Kumar is a PhD Candidate in Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research lies at the intersection of urbanization, gender and politics with a regional specialization in India. Her dissertation project focuses on the political consequences of circular internal male migration on women in sending regions. Using a mixed methods approach, she looks at how the absence of men shapes women’s everyday interactions with the state and their role in local politics in these regions. Her research is generously supported by the APSA Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, Judith Rodin Fellowship, Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) and Fox Leadership Institute. 

Prior to starting at Penn, Rithika was a Research Associate at IDFC Institute, a think-tank in Mumbai, India where she worked on political economy issues related to state capacity and electoral politics. She has additional experience with conducting fieldwork in Bihar, Orissa and Rajasthan. 

She holds a Master’s in Economics from Mumbai University and a Bachelor’s in Economics and Statistics from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. 

You can reach her at or at @kumar_rithika on Twitter.