Sangeetha Madhavan is an Associate Professor in the Department of African-American Studies and Associate Director at the Maryland Population Research Center, University of Maryland, College Park. She received her MA and PHD in Sociology and Demography from the University of Pennsylvania. She has a wide range of research interests including children's well-being, household and family change, the social context of HIV/AIDS and population movement all in the context of sub-Saharan Africa. Her recent publications appear in Journal of Family Issues, Culture, Health and Society and International Journal of Epidemiology. Forthcoming publications will be appearing in Journal of South African Studies, Journal of Adolescent Research and Journal of Family and Economic Issues. She has been a lead investigator in several federally funded grants for research in South Africa and is soon to start an new NIH funded project in urban Kenya on the support networks of poor, single mothers. She teaches courses on Gender and Family, Social Inequalities and Health, HIV/AIDS in Global Perspective and African Development.
Areas of Interest
- Family Demography
- Children's well-being
- sub Saharan Africa
- African Diaspora
- mobility and migration
- social impact of HIV/AIDS
Degree TypePh.DDegree DetailsSociology and Demography University of Pennsylvania
My research seeks to answer two key questions: 1) how are people connected? and 2) which relationships matter for children and young adults and why? Through systematic examination of the household, extended family systems and kinship in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa more generally, I have been working towards the development of an innovative model of “social connectivity” that extends beyond co-residence to incorporate biological and non-biological connections across time and space. Specific outcomes of interest include children’s nutritional status, school progress, adolescent childbearing and young people’s parenting roles. My research has been influenced by anthropology which has made a valuable contribution to understanding how demographic processes are, in large part, a function of cultural and sociopolitical norms. It has also inspired me to challenge assumptions often made about certain categories or contexts based on aggregate level demographic data. I view family structure and family functioning as dynamic, conditioned by cultural norms and socioeconomic circumstances and marked by cooperation and conflict. Social inequality underpins most of my research given that much of it has been conducted in South Africa which ranks as the most unequal society in the world. Therefore, any research conducted in urban or rural contexts must address inequalities on a number of interrelated dimensions including race, class, gender and location.
Service CategoryProfessionalServiceReviewer for Demography, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Social Science and Medicine
Service CategoryProfessionalServiceReviewer for Population Studies, Social Forces, Journal of Family Issues
Service CategoryProfessionalServiceReviewer for National Institutes of Health Study Sections
Service CategoryCampusServiceAssociate Director for Maryland Population Research Center
Service CategoryCampusServiceCampus Scholarships and Awards Committee