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Professor Prabha Kotiswaran

Biographical details

Dr Prabha Kotiswaran is Professor of Law and Social Justice. She previously taught at SOAS. She received her undergraduate law degree in India from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore and then an LLM and SJD (doctorate) from Harvard Law School. She also practiced law at the New York law firm of Debevoise and Plimpton.

Research interests

Dr Kotiswaran’s main areas of research include criminal law, transnational criminal law, feminist legal studies and sociology of law.

She is the author of Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labor: Sex Work and the Law in India, published by Princeton University Press (2011) and co-published by Oxford University Press, India (2011). Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labor won the SLSA-Hart Book Prize for Early Career Academics and has been extensively reviewed by several law and inter-disciplinary journals.

She has also edited Sex Work (Women Unlimited 2011) for a Series on Issues in Contemporary Indian Feminism and two journal special issues on an Economic Sociology of Law (with Amanda Perry-Kessaris and Diamond Ashiagbor) for the Journal of Law and Society (2013) and the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly (2014). She recently edited Revisiting the Law and Governance of Trafficking, Forced Labor and Modern Slavery (Cambridge Studies in Law and Society, 2017). She co-authored Governance Feminism: An Introduction (w/Janet Halley, Rachel Rebouche and Hila Shamir)(Minnesota University Press 2018). A co-edited volume Governance Feminism: Notes from the Field (with Halley, Rebouche and Shamir) is forthcoming from Minnesota University Press in March 2019.

She is Notes Editor for the Indian Law Review (Taylor & Francis) and founding editor member of the Open Democracy Blog Beyond Slavery and Trafficking. She has been Senior Editor for Oxford Handbooks in Law Online, and on the Editorial Boards of the Canadian Journal of Law and Society and the Jindal Global Law Review. She was Co-Convener (with Peer Zumbansen) of the Transnational Law Summer Institute (TLSI) held in June 2015 and June 2016.

Her research has been funded by the AHRC, Leverhulme Trust, ESRC, European Research Council, the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and the Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School. Professor Kotiswaran was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2014. Starting September 2018, she is PI for a five-year European Research Council-funded Consolidator Grant titled the Laws of Social Reproduction.



  • Criminal Law  
  • Jurisprudence
  • Law & Social Theory


  • Transnational Criminal Law (with Dr Nicola Palmer)
  • Sociology of Law. Legal Cultures & Transnational Challenges (with Professor David Nelken)

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