Premilla Nadasen headshot


On May 26, 2021, Feminist Formations, an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal publishing groundbreaking work by scholars, activists, and practitioners in feminist, gender, and sexuality studies, published new research by professor of history Premilla Nadasen. Her work, titled “Rethinking Care Work: (Dis)Affection and the Politics of Caring,” analyzes the discourses of the care crisis and its implications for how we understand the practices of care. Nadasen draws on her research into activism by domestic workers in the 1970s. Resisting characterizations of their work as care or love, which was a basis for underpayment and exploitation, these activists demanded equal labor rights and insisted that their work be treated the same as all other forms of labor. The standard care discourse tends to prioritize the collective social good, ensuring that the more privileged are well cared for, and the needs of the less privileged are contingent on the well-being of the better off. Nadasen argues that a Black feminist analysis and the language of social reproduction are better frameworks for understanding the labor of care in the context of neoliberal social and economic relations.

In December 2020, Nadasen was awarded with the Inaugural Ann Snitow Prize. The annual award, established in honor of influential feminist activist and scholar Ann Snitow, recognizes an extraordinary feminist and intellectual working at the intersection of feminism and social justice activism.