SaunJuhi Verma

Assistant Professor
Labor Studies and Employment Relations (LSER)
Ph.D., University of Chicago
 50 Labor Center Way, New Brunswick, NJ 08903
  • Immigration/Migration, Economic Sociology, Law & Society, Work & Gender, Race

Dr. Verma is an Assistant Professor of Labor Studies and Employment Relations in the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. A sociologist by training, her program of research is driven by questions about how socio-legal norms, such as immigration policies and labor law, inform the racialization of workers within global markets. Her research record has centered upon modes of surveillance and policing of migrants in a global context. She uses ethnographic and archival methods to conduct process-centered studies that seek to identify hidden mechanisms that frame labor market inequality. Three significant research trajectories reflect the breadth of her work, (1) analysis of immigration policy outcomes upon migrant labor markets within receiving countries, (2) evaluation of migration policy design in sending countries, and (3) queries into the compounded effects of race and immigrant status upon first and second generation immigrants.

Her book manuscript, Black Gold, Brown Labor: Selling Migrants in Global Recruitment Markets, is a timely and important study of contemporary foreign labor migration patterns, which identifies how the commodification of racial constructs in regulated multi-country markets perpetuate international migration and restructure the valuation of migrant workers within the global economy. The case study evaluates a labor recruitment chain that links the U.S. oil industry to the gulf economies of the Middle East and finally to the expansive labor brokerage industry in India. Her theoretical framework outlines how geographically dispersed and divergent stakeholders, such as U.S. employers, Indian labor brokers, and Indian government officials, use employment contracts and government oversight infrastructure to produce migrants as “manageable” workers who are constrained by the very terms of employment intended for their protection. It weaves together a novel exposition of the complex and contradictory relationship between global modes of policy regulation and mechanisms of racialization within multi-country labor markets. 

Building upon the study, her second book project, supported by the Fulbright Scholar Award, shifts focus from the outcomes of public policy to instead evaluate the processes that construct national policy. The object of study was the Indian government’s introduction of migrant surveillance technologies such as Biometric IDs and E-Migrate system, used to match migrants with foreign employers. In recent events, the Indian government proposed an ambitious program to overhaul its welfare efforts by creating biometric identifiers for every one of its citizens – over one billion people. This historic moment within one of the world’s largest democracies served as a unique study for evaluating contemporary attempts of modernization in state structure. The project identified invaluable insight into how governmental objectives are established and innovations in regulation of global migration. These two research trajectories about national policy are complemented by a collaborative study identifying the growing school to deportation pipeline and its impact upon recent immigrant youth. These two book projects combined with the collaborative multi-city study outline her focus upon emerging patterns of migrant surveillance and racialization of workers in a multi-country immigration context.

Book Manuscript
Black Gold, Brown Labor: Selling Migrants in Global Recruitment Markets

(Forthcoming) Verma, SaunJuhi. “Labor Policy and Global Indian Diaspora” Routledge Handbook of the Indian Diaspora. Ed. Radha S. Hegde and Ajaya Sahoo.

(Forthcoming) Verma, SaunJuhi, Patricia Maloney and Duke Austin. “School to Deportation Pipeline: The Perspectives of Immigrant Students and Their Teachers on Profiling and Surveillance within the School System” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences.

(Forthcoming) Verma, SaunJuhi. “Law, Labor, and Discipline: Indian Migrants and Political Belonging” Our Stories: An Introduction to South Asian America. Ed. Samip Mallik and Monisha Das Gupta.

(Forthcoming) Verma, SaunJuhi. “Labor, Race, and Place: South Asian Americans Navigate the Modalities of Discipline” BRAVE: Anthology of Women of Color Academics. Ed. Eric Grollman and Manya Whitaker.

2016 Jessi Straub, SaunJuhi Verma, Whitney Welsh, and Linda M. Burton. 2016. “Life, Death, and Resurrections: The Culture of Poverty Perspective” The Oxford Handbook of The Social Science of Poverty. Edited by David Brady and Linda M. Burton. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press. 

2014 Verma, SaunJuhi. “Between Colonial Rule and Racial Exclusion: South Asian Resistance and Multi-Racial Solidarities” Issues in Race & Society: An Interdisciplinary Global Journal. April

2011 Verma, SaunJuhi. “Contemporary Modality: Regulating Gender and Labor” Working the Night Shift: Women in India’s Call Center Industry. Reena Patel. American Journal of Sociology. No.5 March 

2009 Verma, SaunJuhi. “New Orleans and the Storm of Katrina: Issues of Trust and Terrain” Breach of Faith and What is a City?. J. Horne and P. Steinberg, R. Shields. The Griot: Newsletter of the Association of Black Sociologists. September

2004 Verma, SaunJuhi. “Participatory Development: Rhetoric or Reality?” Association for Women in Development, Resource Net Issue No.194

2004 Verma, SaunJuhi. “Gender Mainstreaming and Other Unrealized  Development Initiatives” Women’s Rights and Economic Change, Issue No.3