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Dr Nayanika Mookherjee, BA (Hons); MA; PhD.

Reader in Socio-Cultural Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology

(email at


Nayanika joined Durham University in 2011. Before that she was in the Sociology department in Lancaster University prior to which she was a Post-Doctoral Fellow [Society for South Asian Studies, (British Academy)], in the Department of Anthropology, University of Sussex. She did her BA (Hons) in Presidency College, India; her MA in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India; and PhD in Social Anthropology from School of Oriental and African Studies - SOAS, University of London.

Other Commitments Include

  • 2012: Core member of the Ethics Committee of the World Council of Anthropological Associations
  • 2012: Member of the AHRC Peer Review College (2012-2015)
  • Member of the ESRC Peer Review College: (2010-2014)
  • Member of the organising committee of the 2013 Conference of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES), to be held in Manchester and was also a core member of the organising committee of the April 2012 ASA Annual Conference held in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi, on Arts and Aesthetics in a Globalising World.
  • 2009: Leverhulme Research Fellowship: 2009-2011
  • 2009: Rockefeller Residency Fellowship: Residency Fellowship at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (Italy), March 12th-April 9th 2009.
  • 2007: ASA Executive Committee Member: Member, Executive Committee and Ethics Officer, Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth (ASA). 2007-2012; Set up and co-ordinated the Association of Social Anthropology Ethics Blog; updated the ASA Ethics Code in 2011 through a two-year consultation with ASA members.

Dr Mookherjee has successfully supervised three PhD students to completion in Lancaster University (passed their vivas with minor corrections): (i) Dr Swati Parashar, now a tenured lecturer University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia; (ii) Dr. Leon Moosavi (ESRC 1+3) (Lecturer, Liverpool University); (iii) Dr. Elisabeth Grindel.

She currently has four PhD students: (i)Taslima Mirza Sultana (Lancaster University Studentship: Childlessness among middle class women in Bangladesh) (ii) Zobaida Nasreen Sultana (Commonwealth Fellowship: Experiences of Forced Displacement in Chittagong Hill Tracts). (iii) Kichan Lee (Peace Monument in South Korea (iv) Pina Sadar (Veiled and Unveiled British Bangladeshi Women).

She is engaged in the following Research Projects:

1. Public Memories of Gendered/Sexual Violence during wars/conflict situations As a Richard Carley Hunt Fellow awarded by the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (New York), my book emerging from this research (titled The Spectral Wound: Sexual Violence and Public Memories and the Bangladesh War of 1971) is forthcoming with Duke University Press (Foreword by Prof. Veena Das).This is based on extensive fieldwork in Bangladesh to examine the public memories of sexual violence of the Bangladesh War of 1971 and theoretically explore the various constructions of the nation.

2. Aesthetics, Affect and the Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal As part of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2009-2011) this project seeks to explore the configuration of the nation-state and the relation between art and politics through the evocation of senses by various affective apparatus (like museums, memorials etc.) in the context of the setting up of the Bangladesh war crimes tribunal. I was also invited for a one month scholarly residency in the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio as part of this project. Linked to this I co-organised an International Inter-disciplinary Conference 'Melancholic States', 27-29 September 2007. The manuscript under preparation from this project (Arts of Reconciliation and the Bangladesh War of 1971) is contracted with the Cultural Memory in the Present Series, Stanford University Press.

3.'War-Babies', Genetic Citizenship and Transnational Adoption This project relates to the contested relationship between genetics, and the nation-state through the prism of 'war babies' (children born as a result of sexual violence during wars) in Western Europe and North America. Through this, ideas of belonging and citizenship are theorised in the context of Transnational Adoption.

4. Ethics and Ethnographic Research Co-awarded, 'ESRC Research Training Programme: Ethics and Ethical Practice in Social Science, 2006-2009' and developed a website on research ethics.

Research Groups

Department of Anthropology

Research Interests

  • Anthropology of politics, state, violence, memory, and human rights
  • Gendered violence during wars
  • Aesthetics, affective apparatus (museums, memorials), senses and the nation-state
  • Political kinship and transnational adoption
  • Ethics
  • South Asia


Authored book

  • Mookherjee, N. (Forthcoming). Arts of Reconciliation and the Bangladesh War of 1971. Contracted with Cultural Memory in the Present Series, Stanford University Press.
  • Mookherjee, N. (2015). The Spectral Wound: Sexual Violence, Public Memories and the Bangladesh War of 1971.’ Foreword by Prof. Veena Das. Durham N. C.: Duke University Press.

Book review

  • Mookherjee, N. (2006). Social Memory and History: Anthropological Perspectives. Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI), 12: 957-958.
  • Mookherjee, N. (2000). Violence and Subjectivity. Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute December, Volume 7, Number 4: 793-794.

Chapter in book

  • Mookherjee, N. (2012). Twenty-first century ethics for audited anthropologists. In Sage Handbook of Social Anhropology. Fardon, R., Gledhill, J., Harris, O. (decd), , Marchand, T., Nuttall, M. Shore, C., Strang, V. & Wilson, R. Published with the Association of Social Anthropologists of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. Commissioned chapter in Part III: Methods. edited by late Olivia Harris and Veronica Strang: 130-140.
  • Mookherjee, N. (2009). Available motherhood: Legal technologies, ‘state of exception’ and the dekinning of ‘war babies’ in Bangladesh. In Between Life and Death: Governing Populations in an Era of Human Rights. Berking, S. & Zolkos, M. Frankfurt am Main New York: Peter Lang. 267-283.
  • Mookherjee, N. (2009). Denunciatory Practices and the constitutive role of Collaboration of the Bangladesh War. In Treason and the Art of Politics: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives. Kelly, T. & Thiranagama, S. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania University Press. 48-67.
  • Mookherjee, N. (2008). ‘Friendships and ethnographic‘ encounters within left-liberal politics in Bangladesh’. In Taking Sides: Politics and Ethnography. (A Nancy Lindisfarne Fetschcrift). Armbruster, H. & Laerke, A. Oxford: Berghahn. 65-87.
  • Mookherjee, N. (2006). Muktir Gaan (Songs of Freedom), the Raped Woman and the Migrant Identities of the Bangladesh War. In Gender, Conflict and Migration. (as part of the Gender and Migration in Asia. Behera, N.C. Sage: New Delhi. 3: 72-96.
  • Mookherjee, N. (2004). ‘My man (honour) is lost but I still have my iman (principle)’ Sexual Violence and Articulations of Masculinity. In South Asian Masculinities. Chopra, R., Osella, C. & Osella, F. New Delhi: Kali for Women. 131-159.
  • Mookherjee, N. (2004). ‘The Great Indian Novel’ and ‘Ranajit Guha’. In South Asian Literature in English: An Encyclopaedia. Sanga, J.S. Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. 120-125.
  • Mookherjee, N. (2003). Gendered Embodiments: Mapping the body-politic of the raped woman and the nation in Bangladesh. In Critical Reflections on Gender and the South Asian Diaspora. Puwar, N. & Raghuram, P. Oxford: Berg. 157-177.

Edited Journal

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article


Selected Grants

  • 2009: Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2009-2011)
  • 2009: Residency Fellowship at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (Italy), March 12th-April 9th 2009
  • 2008: Academy, Overseas Conference Grants (£900), for the Association of Social Anthropology (ASA) Annual Conference in New Zealand.
  • 2008: British Academy, British Conference Grants (£ 1995), for the South Asian Studies in the North Conference (SASIN): 'Countermapping the Self: Agency and History in South Asia'.
  • 2008: Co-awarded Humanities in European Research Area (HERA) Joint Research Programmes (JRP) Networking Grant (€3000).
  • 2006: Co-awarded, 'ESRC Research Training Programme: Ethics and Ethical Practice in Social Science.' (£99,386) Website for Ethics resource:
  • 2005: British Academy Overseas Conference Grant (for American Anthropological Association Meeting, Washington, 11/04).
  • 2005: Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship, Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.
  • 2002: Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Society for South Asian Studies, British Academy, Department of Anthropology, University of Sussex. (I declined it for 2003-2004).