Kathleen O'Reilly

Kathleen O'Reilly


Presidential Impact Fellow


  (979) 845-7141

  Eller O&M 812A


Dr. Kathleen O’Reilly is a feminist geographer with extensive Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) experience in urban and rural India. She studies drinking water supply systems’ management and the impacts of sanitation interventions for marginal groups, particularly women and lowest castes. Her career spans over 20 years of data collection in India, research findings, dissemination, and teaching. Kathleen has received research grants from the National Science Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (UNOPS), and others to fund her work. She was named a Texas A&M University Presidential Impact Fellow in October 2018, due to her contributions to knowledge and policy on sustainable development, gender issues, and the significance of geography for WASH interventions.

Selected Publications

  • Truelove, Y. and K. O’Reilly. 2020 online. “Making India’s Cleanest City: Sanitation, Intersectionality, and Infrastructural Violence.”  Environment and Planning E

  • O’Reilly, K. 2018. “The influence of land use changes on open defecation in rural India” Applied Geography 99: 133-139

  • Jepson, W., Budds, J., Eichelberger, L., Harris, L., Norman, E., O’Reilly, K., Pearson, A., Shah, S., Shinn, J., Staddon, C., Stoler, J., Wutich, A., and S.L. Young. 2017. “Advancing Human Capabilities for Water Security: A Relational Approach.” Water Security 1: 46-52.
  • Kulkarni, S., O’Reilly, K., and S. Bhat. 2017. “Sanitation vulnerability: Women’s stress and struggles for violence-free sanitation.” Gender and Development 25(2): 167-183
  • O’Reilly, Kathleen, *Dhanju, R., and *E. Louis. 2017. “Subjected to Sanitation: Caste Relations and Sanitation Adoption in Rural Tamil Nadu.” The Journal of Development Studies 53(11): 1915-1928.
  • *Dhanju, R., and O’Reilly, K. 2017. “‘I know, I live here!’ Poor women and the work of empowerment.” Development in Practice 27(7): 940-951.
  • O’Reilly, K., and ‡Mitchell, S. 2017. “Bisexual politics and spaces: An on-campus discussion.” Women’s Studies: An International Journal 46(5): 495-505.
  • O’Reilly, K., *Dhanju, R., and *A. Goel. 2017. “Exploring ‘The Remote’ and ‘The Rural’: Open Defecation and Latrine Use in Uttarakhand, India.” World Development 93: 193-205.
  • Kulkarni, S., O’Reilly, K., and S. Bhat. 2017. Sanitation Vulnerability: Women’s stress and struggles for violence-free sanitation. Development & Change
  • O’Reilly, K. 2016. “From toilet insecurity to toilet security: Creating safe sanitation for women and girls.” WIREs Water 3: 19-24.
  • O'Reilly, K. and Louis, E. 2014. The Toilet Tripod: Understanding successful toilet adoption in rural India. Health & Place 29: 43-51.
  • O’Reilly, K. and R. Dhanju. 2014. Public taps and Private connections: neoliberal water governance and the re-production of caste distinction in north India. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 39(3): 373-386.
  • O’Reilly, K. and R. Dhanju. 2012. Hybrid drinking water governance: Community participation and ongoing neoliberal reforms in rural Rajasthan, India. Geoforum 43:623–633.
  • O’Reilly, K. 2010. “Combining sanitation and women’s empowerment in water supply: An example from Rajasthan.” Development in Practice 20(1): 45-56. 20th anniversary issue.
  • O’Reilly, K. 2006. “‘Traditional’ women, ‘modern’ water: Linking gender and commodification in Rajasthan, India.” Geoforum 37: 958-972.


Ph.D. Geography, University of Iowa, 2002

M.S. Geography, University of Alabama, 1996

B.M. Voice Performance, Westminster Choir College, 1989



Presidential Impact Fellow

Texas A&M University



Distinguished Achievement Award (College Level): Teaching

Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University



Distinguished Achievement Award for Faculty Teaching

College of Geosciences, Texas A&M University



Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence Award, Nominee

Graduate Student Council and College of Geosciences Nominee, Texas A&M University


Additional Information

Current students

SouYeon Nam

Aaron Lira


  • Association of American Geographers
  • Rajasthan Studies Group
  • Society for Applied Anthropology

Graduate Director

Prospective students please email: grad-director@geog.tamu.edu

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