Durba Mitra

Durba Mitra

Carol K. Pforzheimer Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute
Assistant Professor of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Durba Mitra

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.

Selected Awards and Fellowships
  • 2020 Star Family Prize for Excellence in Faculty Advising, Harvard University

  • 2020-2021 Shelby Cullom Davis Center Fellowship, Princeton University

  • 2020-2021 Newhouse Center for the Humanities Fellowship, Wellesley College (declined)

  • 2019-2020 Asia Center Seminar Series Grant, Harvard University

  • 2019 Roslyn Abramson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Harvard University

  • 2019 Publication Grant, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University

  • 2019 FAS Publication Fund Grant, Harvard FAS Division of Social Science

  • 2019 Mellon Foundation Schlesinger Library Long 19th Amendment Award for the course “Solidarity” in Spring 2020, Harvard University

  • 2018 Asia Center Faculty Research Grant, Harvard University

  • 2018-2019 Fellow, Carol K. Pforzheimer Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

  • 2018 Course Innovation Fund Award for “Feminist and Queer Histories of Difference,” Harvard University Office of Undergraduate Education

  • 2018 Tenure Track Manuscript Workshop Grant, Harvard FAS Division of Social Science

  • 2015-2016 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Penn Humanities Forum, University of Pennsylvania

  • 2012-2013 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of History and Gender and Women’s Studies, Bowdoin College

  • 2012-2013 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa (declined)

  • 2009-2010 Fulbright-Nehru Scholar, India 

  • 2009-2010 American Institute of Indian Studies Junior Fellows (declined)

Book
  • 2020 Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020) 
Selected Articles and Essays
Courses Taught in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
  • GENED 1036 Global Feminisms
  • WOMGEN 1200 Who Run the World? Feminism in the Age of Empire
  • WOMGEN 1210 Feminist and Queer Theories of Difference
  • WOMGEN 1214 Solidarity: Transnational Women's Rights from Suffrage to NGOs
  • WOMGEN 1426 The Sexual Life of Colonialism
  • WOMGEN 1441 Feminist Theory: The Body as Archive

Contact Information

Boylston Hall G26
5 Harvard Yard
Cambridge, MA 02138

Websites