Fields of Study: South Asia, Urban History, Women and gender
Advisor: Gyan Prakash, Bhavani Raman
I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of History.
My dissertation 'Being Urban: Producing City Space and Citizens in colonial Calcutta (1850-1930)' examines the very formation of urban space and society. I describe the city not as a container for political and economic activities but as a socio-spatial configuration both shaping and shaped by historical actions. Accordingly, I examine the production of Calcutta as a city, that is, as a space constituted by broad forces of empire, colonialism, and nationalism that it, in turn, molded.
In building the portrait of the colonial city as it was shaped by the British rulers and experienced by indigenous inhabitants, my work draws upon previously unexplored archives of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, Calcutta Improvement Trust, and memoirs written by Bengali, middle-class men. From these sources, I offer a close, on-the-ground view of urbanism, locating it at the level of Calcutta’s neighborhoods or ‘paras’. In these spaces, I explore colonial and nationalist urban discourses, as they were deployed to shape discrete spaces and bodies. My work departs from the existing social histories of the city, which describe urbanization as structural intervention to reveal spatial transitions effected through interventions in bodily conduct.
I am also interested in the history of citizenship, comparative colonialism, and gender and sexuality in modern South Asia.
I received my B.A. in History from Presidency College, Calcutta.