Director, Barger Leadership Institute
Ram Mahalingam received his PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. He was originally trained as a civil engineer and held more than 12 different jobs (math tutor, film script writer, children’s theater activist, poet, writer, lecturer, night watchman, dish washer, cook, book stacker and preschool teacher) including being a structural engineer for 8 years before becoming a psychologist. He is currently Professor of Psychology in the Personality and Social Contexts program at the University of Michigan. He is also a core faculty member of the Psychology and Women’s Studies Joint PhD program. He was the Director for the Honors Program in Psychology department and the founding Director for the Accelerated Master’s Degree Program in Psychology. He is currently the Director for the Barger Leader Institute.
His research is centered around intersectionality - the way that different identities we embody intersect shape how we make sense of our lives. In his empirical work, he conceptualizes intersectionality in three distinct ways (Mahalingam & Rabelo, 2013). First, he explores intersectionality as a lived experience, focusing on encounters and stressors for those with marginalized identities based on gender, ethnicity, religion, caste, sexuality, occupation, and class. Second, he studies intersectionality as identities in contexts. For example, he studied how intersecting ecological contexts shape beliefs about gender in communities with a history of female infanticide (Mahalingam, 2007b). Third, he views intersectionality as a critical social awareness of privilege and marginality for differing identities. This rich conceptualization of intersectionality connects his specific research projects to answer broader questions. With this overarching framework, He pursues three lines of research: (a) Dignity and Invisibility in workplace with a specific focus on janitors in India, US and South Korea; (b) Mindfulness, social justice and leadership with a specific focus on interconnectedness; (c) Relationship between cell phones and self. He is the Director for the Mindful Connections Lab (https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/rams-lab/).
Publications and Recognitions
In addition to publishing in several interdisciplinary journals, he also has edited two books: Multicultural Curriculum (Routledge) with Cameron McCarthy; Cultural Psychology of Immigrants (Lawrence Erlbaum). He has also won the class of 1923 Teaching award for excellence in teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Michigan and the Otto Kleinberg Award from SPSSI for the best paper on Intercultural and International Relations. He also received the excellence in Teaching and mentoring award for from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI, a division of APA) for teaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students social justice research, and the 2010 The Florence L. Denmark and Mary E. Reuder Award for Outstanding International Contributions to the Psychology of Women and Gender from Division 52, APA. He is also one of the founder members and incoming Chair for the Asian Caucus in the Society for Research on Child Development (SRCD). In 2011, he received the Excellence in Education Award from the College of Literature, Science and Arts (LSA), University of Michigan. He has been elected as the Fellow of American Psychological Association. He also received the John Dewey Award for excellence in teaching, research and mentoring from the University of Michigan.