I am primarily interested in the sociology and anthropology of religion, especially, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. The interface of the anthropology of religion with religious studies and philosophy is something I have been thinking about for a while now. My work also includes, and I am passionately interested in the sociology and philosophy of aesthetics and music, and their relations with studies of the body and embodiment.
BA Sociology (Presidency College, Calcutta Univeristy, 2005)
MA Sociology (Jawaharlal Nehru University, 2007)
Research Training Programme (Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, 2008)
PhD Social Anthropology (University of Cambridge, December, 2012)
I stood first in BA (Presidency College, Calcutta University, 2005), MA (J.N.U, 2007), and Research Training Programme (CSSSC, 2008), and went to do my PhD in Social Anthropology from Trinity College, Cambridge. My research was funded by the Gates Cambridge Trust and Overseas Research Studentship.
UGC-CAS Visiting Fellow, The Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, March, 2016.
Hamied Visiting Fellow, Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge, May, 2018. (Part of Presidency University-University of Cambridge Scholars' Exchange Program)
Shivdasani Visiting Fellow, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, University of Oxford, May, 2019.
Invited Lecture Series:
‘Tantric Traditions of Medieval Bengal’ (September 5, 2019) & ‘Vaisnava Sahajiya and Gaudiya Vaisnavism’ (September 6. 2019), Jnanapravaha Mumbai
Member, Working Group of Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR)-Impress Project on ‘Intellectual Histories of Bhakti: Concepts, Institutions and Practices in Orissa 1500-2000’ (Principal Investigators: Dr. Siddharth Satpathy, University of Hyderabad and Dr. Urmishree Bedamatta, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack)
Co-Investigator, with Dr. Upal Chakrabarti (Presidency University) and Dr. Rochona Majumdar (Principal Investigator, University of Chicago), of University of Chicago-Presidency University collaborative project on ‘Hindu/Presidency College: A Global History’, June 2020 to June 2021. Provost’s Global Faculty Awards, UChicago. Grant Received: USD 28,000.
Peer reviewed journal articles, projects and book proposals for:
American Anthropologist, Asian Medicine, Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology, International Journal of Hindu Studies, Presidency Historical Review, The Czech Science Foundation, and Sage Publications.
Research / Administrative Experience+
I did research with the Vaishnavas of Bengal, and focussed on the varied ways in which different groups of Vaishnavas understand, construct and experience sacred place. The bigger question I tried to raise and answer was whether we can conceptualise space and place not only in terms of physical geographical locations, but also as interiorised in one's mind, body, and senses. Thus my research looked at complex relations and overlaps among spatial experiences, place-making, imagination, the body, and senses, especially how places are sensed and made sense of through sonic and musical sensations. My book, The Place of Devotion: Siting and Experiencing Divinity in Bengal-Vaishnavism (University of California Press, series: South Asia Across the Disciplines) was published in 2015.
Teaching / Other Experience+
I teach an undergraduate course on 'Structuralism and After'; postgraduate courses on the 'Anthropology of the Body' and the 'Anthropology of Religion'; and parts of other PG courses on the 'Philosophy of the Social Sciences', and 'Methodology of the Social Sciences'. However, I would like to teach, as well as supervise students interested in the sociology of knowledge, religion, space and place, aesthetics, embodiment, and the senses.
Post Graduate Supervision+
Utsaleena Das, 'Chhou and Everyday Life in Purulia and Bankura, West Bengal' (2014-present)
Salini Saha, 'Fertility, Worship and Monsoon among Agricultural Communities of Bardhaman, West Bengal' (2018-present)
Aishani Ganguly, 'Performing Ragurajpur: Studying Village Through its Performance Traditions' (2019-present)
External examination and supervision
Examiner of M.Phil dissertation, ‘Born to Procreate: Figuring the Maternal Bodies in Assisted Reproductive Technology’, by Pinaki Roy, submitted to the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, 2013.
Examiner of M.Phil dissertation ‘(Re)inscribing caste in urban spaces: Microhistory of a Dalit Buddhist neighbourhood in Bombay’, by Geeta Thatra, submitted to the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, 2015.
Local Supervisor, John Fahy, PhD candidate at the department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge 2013
Local Supervisor, Aniket De, Undergraduate student, Tufts University, 2014-15
External Member, Doctoral Advisory Committee of PhD candidate Souri Mazumder, ‘Role of Mythology in Learning and Identity Formation among Adolescents: A Study of Two Schools in Bengal’, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru
‘The Place of Devotion: Siting and Experiencing Divinity in Bengal-Vaishnavism’. 2015. Oakland: University of California Press.
(Series: South Asia Across the Disciplines)
‘The 16 Spin of Rhythmic Bodies: Toned Resonance in Skin, Percussion and the Hindu Cosmos’ (under revision)
‘Hands of a Sound Civilization: Auditory Synesthesia and Imaginations of Origin among manual craftsmen and musicians of Bengal’s mridanga’ (under revision)
‘The Breathing Body, The Whistling Flute: Oneness and Difference in the Metaphysics of Bengal’s Devotional Aesthetics’ (under preparation for Religions, special issue on ‘Tuning in the Sacred: Studies in Music and Religion’ edited by Guy Beck)
'Jagat-Nath as Pranavatanudharam: Reading the Nath yogic body and Puri as homologous kshetras of AUM resonance’ (under preparation for a special issue on ‘The Polite World of Bhakti in Odisha: From Early Modern to Modern’)
‘Prithak Pranav, The Kali-Krishna conundrum: Historical and Literary complexities of Sectarian Bengal’. South Asian History and Culture (Special Issue: ‘Between Literature and History’) (Forthcoming)
‘Touch, Untouch and the Depositions of Uchhishta’, Economic and Political Weekly. 09 November 2019. Volume 54. Number 44. pp 15-17.
'Uddanda: The Aesthetic Yardstick of Meditation, Madness and Time in Chaitanya's Rathyatra dance'. Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Spring 2019. Volume 27. Number 2. pp 49-62.
Shankh-er Shongshar, Afterlive Everyday: Religious Experience of the Evening Conch andd Goddesses in Bengali Hindu Homes'. Religions. January 2019. pp 1-19 (Special issue: 'Religious Experience in the Hindu Tradition ed. June McDaniel)
Reprinted as book: June McDaniel (ed.) Religious Experience in the Hindu Tradition. 2019. MDPI.
‘The Body-Mind Challenge: Theology and Phenomenology in Bengal-Vaishnavisms’. Modern Asian Studies. November 2018. Volume 52. Issue 6. pp 2080-2108. (Published Online: 20 July 2018)
‘Discovering Gupta-Vrindavan: Finding Selves and Places in the Storied Landscape’. Contributions to Indian Sociology. February 2013. Volume 47 Number 1. pp 113-140.
‘Hearing the Community and Nation: A History of Vaishnavism in Bengal as sung through traditions of kirtan music’. 2012. Jadavpur University, Journal of Sociology. Volume 5. pp 62-73.
‘The changing city-scape and the development of shopping malls in Kolkata: Reflections on the new middle class identities’. November 2008. Journal of the West Bengal Sociological Association. Volume 1. pp 93-107.
Chapters in edited volumes:
‘Hearing the Transcendental Place: Sound, Spirituality and Sensuality in the musical practices of an Indian devotional order’. 2015. In Music and Transcendence (ed.) Ferdia Stone-Davis. Ashgate. pp 23-34.
‘For the Skin is Faster than the Word: Towards an Ethnography of Affect’. 2018. In Doing Theory: Locations, Hierarchies and Disjunctions (ed.) Maitrayee Choudhury and Manish Thakur. Orient Blackswan. pp 233-254.
‘Sahajiya Texts of Nadia: Beyond Reform and Revival’. 2020. In The Legacy of Vaisnavism in Colonial Bengal (ed.) Ferdinando Sardella and Lucian Wong. Routledge. pp 167-184.
‘Aural Auras of Inner Sounds: The Instrumental Creation of Devotional Bodies’. In Religious Sounds Beyond the Global North: Senses, Media and Power (eds.) Carola Erika Lorea and Rosalind Hackett. Amsterdam University Press. Series: Global Asia. (Forthcoming)
'The Leftover Untouch: Sensing Caste in the Modern Urban Lives of a Devotional Instrument'. In Religion and the City in India. (ed.) Supriya Chaudhuri. Routledge. (Forthcoming).
'Embodied Inheritance of a Dancing Philosophy: Text and Practice in the Chaitanya Charitamrita'. In The Literary Across Cultures: Cultural Poetics of Bhasha Literatures in Theory and Practice. (ed.) E.V. Ramakrishnan. Orient Blackswan. (Forthcoming)
‘The Tantric Metaphysics of a Number and the Knotted Lives of Text and Practice’. In The Ethography of Tantra (eds.) Carola Lorea and Rohit Singh (Forthcoming).
'Shankha-Shongsharer Sthan-Kal-Patra Ebong Uttor-Ouponibeshik Bhabnar Ekti Punarmulyayan'. In Essays in Honor of Prof. Dipesh Chakrabarty. (ed.) Ahmed Kamal, Nusrat Chowdhury, Taimur Reza, Nazmul Sultan and Thomas Newbold. University Press Limited. (Forthcoming)
Review of ‘The Triumph of the Snake Goddess’, by Kaiser Haq. August 2016. Biblio. Volume XXI Number 8.
Review of ‘Leprosy and a life in south India: journeys with a Tamil Brahmin’, by James Staples. August 2015. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Volume 21 Issue 3.
Review of ‘Folklore, Religion, and the Songs of a Bengali Madman’, by Carola Erika Lorea. Journal of Asian Ethnology. 2017. Volume 76. Issue 1.
Review of 'Unforgetting Chaitanya: Vaishnavism and Cultures of Devotion in Colonial Bengal', by Varuni Bhatia. 2020. Studies in History. Volume 36 Issue 1.
Review of 'A Genealogy of Devotion: Bhakti, Tantra, Yoga and Sufism in North India', by Patton. E. Burchett. 2020. Journal of the American Academy of Religion. Volume 88. Issue 2.
‘The Ideal Brahmin’, Review of ‘Renunciation and Untouchability in India: The Notional and the Empirical in the Caste Order’, by Srinivasa Ramanujam. 2020. Economic and Political Weekly Volume 55, Issue 28-29.
'Making Krishna Apparent: Interrogating intuitive capacity through Gaudiya-Vaishnav practice in West Bengal', interviewed by Dr. Atreyee Majumdar (Jindal Global University), in RIC Journal, February 2019.
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