My PhD is based on ethnographic research with Lesbian, Bisexual, and Female-to-Male Transgender activists in Kolkata, India, exploring their activities as a group, the group’s role in the wider women’s movement, and individual’s emotive and personal experiences both as activists and in their daily lives. My project not only explores specific experiences of gender, sexuality and identity but explores representations in the media and tensions with increasingly dominant right-wing, Hindu nationalist politics and policies. I am also especially interested in how activists use, create and disseminate different kinds of knowledge to bring about social change, including academic knowledge, personal/experiential knowledge, and local/cultural knowledge forms.
I am also a professional musician, and am interested in approaching music as a subject of social research. I will co-convene a panel on the relationship between Sound and Religious Experience at the RAI 2018 Conference ‘Art, Materiality and Representation’, and am also the convenor for a panel exploring ’21st Century Orientalism’, or how non-Euro-American subjects are portrayed in contemporary artistic productions including opera, theatre and the visual arts.
Publications and Papers
Datta, A. (2017) “Queering Knowledge: Academia in the Hands of the Activists.” Anthropology Matters – in press
Datta, A. (2016) ““Ami Achi toh” – A Study of Lesbian, Bisexual and FTM identity
in Contemporary Kolkata.” Conference on Bengal Related Studies 2016, Martin-Luther- Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Datta, A. (2015). “Queering Knowledge: Academia in the Hands of the Activists”
Royal Anthropological Institute Postgraduate Conference 2015 Anthropology and the
Politics of Engagement
Datta, A. (2015) “Protests and Panopticons: Strategies of place-making for Queer
Women in Kolkata”. SOAS South Asia Institute Annual Workshop and Conference.