Janani Umamaheswar

Janani Umamaheswar

Janani Umamaheswar

Assistant Professor

Gender, punishment and incarceration, the life course, qualitative research methods

Dr. Janani Umamaheswar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law, and Society at George Mason University. She is also an affiliate faculty member in the Women and Gender Studies program at George Mason University and a Research Affiliate in the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University. 

Her research and teaching interests are broadly in the areas of gender, punishment and incarceration, the life course, and qualitative research methods. She recently completed a project in which she used in-depth interviews with incarcerated men and men experiencing homelessness to explore how masculinity shapes the homelessness-incarceration link. In her current research project, she is using in-depth interviews to explore the prison experiences of wrongfully-convicted men. Her work has been published in journals such as Justice Quarterly; British Journal of CriminologyEthnic and Racial Studies; Incarceration; Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology; Punishment & Society; and Crime, Media, Culture.

Selected Publications

(* denotes equal authorship) 

Janani Umamaheswar and Eman Tadros. 2021. “‘Not anybody can be a Dad’: The intergenerational transmission of masculinity among incarcerated men.” Crime & Delinquency. Published online before print (https://doi.org/10.1177/00111287211047531).

Catherine Tan and Janani Umamaheswar*. 2021. “Structural racism and the experience of ‘tightness’ during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Ethnic and Racial Studies. Published online before print (https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2021.1959625).    

Janani Umamaheswar. 2021. “Shadow and light: Online narratives of relationship dissolution among former partners of incarcerated men.” British Journal of Criminology. Published online before print (https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azab058).

Janani Umamaheswar. 2021. “ ‘Suppression on top of oppression’: A symbolic interactionist perspective on the affective experience of incarceration.” British Journal of Criminology 61(4): 1107-1125.

Janani Umamaheswar. 2021. “ ‘On the street, the only person you gotta bow down to is yourself’: Masculinity, homelessness, and incarceration.” Justice Quarterly. Published online before print (https://doi.org/10.1080/07418825.2020.1869288).

Janani Umamaheswar. 2021. “ ‘When my mother died, I think a part of me died’:  Maternal fusion and the relationship between incarcerated men and their mothers.” Journal of Family Issues 42(2): 253-275.

Janani Umamaheswar and Catherine Tan*. 2020. “ ‘Dad, wash your hands’: Gender, care work, and attitudes toward risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Socius 6: 1-14.

Janani Umamaheswar. 2020. “ ‘Changing the channel’: Hybrid masculinity in a men’s prison.” Incarceration 1(2): 1-19.    

Janani Umamaheswar. 2020. “ ‘When the hell are you going to grow up?’: A life-course account of hybrid masculinities among incarcerated men.” Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology 6(1): 127-151.

Janani Umamaheswar. 2020. “Policing and racial (in)justice in the media: Newspaper portrayals of the Black Lives Matter movement.” Civic Sociology 1(1): 12143.


Courses Taught

CRIM 795: Gender and Crime


Ph.D., Sociology, The Pennsylvania State University (2014)

M.A., Sociology, University of Toronto (2009)

B.A., Sociology, University of Toronto (2008)