Tanya Bakhru

Tanya Bakhru

Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences


What research questions currently preoccupy you?

Currently I am using auto-ethnography to investigate adoption and foster care through a reproductive justice lens. I am really interested in understanding what a reproductive justice framework might look like for children, biological parents and foster/parents who are engaged with the child welfare system.

What personal factors contributed to your research?

My current research is spurred on by my own experience of adopting a child through the foster care system and interfacing with institutional systems that can be sexist, racist, and homophobic.

What has been most challenging in your research?

My research topic touches on some of the most intimate aspects of life and auto-ethnography requires that I, as the researcher and simultaneous research subject, look at my own experiences reflexively and critically.

How has your position in SJSU contributed to your research?

As the program coordinator of the women, gender, and sexuality studies program, I feel a deep commitment to feminist principles that guide both my interactions with students in the program and my research. I see my position as coordinator helping to bridge teaching and research.

One book that changed your life (or research) & why:

The book, Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg, radically changed my life by helping me to see that fields of study and intellectual inquiry are only useful in so far as they touch people's lives and contribute positively to the human experience. Feinberg's honesty and reflexivity in Stone Butch Blues inspires me to also be honest and authentic in my work.

A website/journal/newspaper (in your field?) you follow without fail:

Bitch magazine.

Advice you’d give to newer faculty or students:

“In life when we feel we have reached a limit, that is when the true battle begins. Just when you despair and think it is impossible to go any further, will you become apathetic, or will you say it’s not over and stand up with an unyielding spirit? The battle is decided by this single determination.” – Daisaku Ikeda