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Speakers

Assistant Professor, Harvard University
Independent Researcher

Durba Mitra and Sreeparna Chattopadhyay discuss Durba’s book, Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought. They explore how British authorities and Indian intellectuals develop ideas about deviant female sexuality to control and organise society in Colonial India. They also discuss the legal and societal implications of these ideas that continue to shape Indian society to this day.

Dr. Durba Mitra is Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and Carol K. Pforzheimer Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. Mitra works at the intersection of feminist and queer studies. Her research and teaching focus on the history of sexuality, the history of science and epistemology, and gender and feminist thought in South Asia and the colonial and postcolonial world.

Dr. Sreeparna Chattopadhyay is an independent researcher currently based in Bangalore. She has an A.M. and Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology and the Population Studies Training Centre at Brown University and a B.A. in Economics (Honours) from St. Xavier’s College, Bombay. Her research in the last twelve years has focused on the ways in which gender disadvantages interact with socioeconomic inequities, shaping women’s life trajectories including impacts on health, education and exposure to violence.

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Speakers

Durba Mitra

Assistant Professor, Harvard University

Durba Mitra is Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and Carol K. Pforzheimer Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. Mitra works at the intersection of feminist and queer studies. Her research and teaching focus on the history of sexuality, the history of science and epistemology, and gender and feminist thought in South Asia and the colonial and postcolonial world. Mitra’s book, Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought (Princeton University Press, 2020), demonstrates how ideas of deviant female sexuality became foundational to modern social thought. Her current research explores the history of Third World feminist theory and South-South solidarity movements. Mitra is a faculty associate of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and is on the Asia Center Council at Harvard. She is a member of the editorial board of the journal Signs, incoming editor of “Books in Brief” for GLQ: Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies, and a contributing editor for Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Mitra is a recipient of the 2019 Roslyn Abramson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at Harvard, which recognizes teachers for “excellence and sensitivity in teaching undergraduates,” and the 2020 Star Family Prize for Excellence in Faculty Advising.

Mitra is a founding member of xpMethod: Group for Experimental Methods in Humanistic Research, where she is the moderator for the GenderSex Collective. She co-organizes the “Architectures of Knowledge” workshops, which has led to collaborative research projects on digital archives in Mumbai, India and Lahore, Pakistan.

Sreeeparna Chattopadhyay

Independent Researcher

Dr. Sreeparna Chattopadhyay is an independent researcher currently based in Bangalore. She has an A.M. and Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology and the Population Studies Training Centre at Brown University and a B.A. in Economics (Honours) from St. Xavier’s College, Bombay. Her research in the last twelve years has focused on the ways in which gender disadvantages interact with socioeconomic inequities, shaping women’s life trajectories including impacts on health, education and exposure to violence. She has worked both within and outside the academia in India, the US and the UK and writes often for the media to make her research accessible to the general public.