Aditya Bharadwaj


Chair, Department of Anthropology & Sociology
Co-Director, Gender Centre
Spoken languages
English, Hindi
Areas of expertise
  • Biomedicine
  • Reproductive health and technologies
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • South Asia
  • India


PhD University of Bristol, United Kingdom

Aditya Bharadwaj joined the Graduate Institute as Research Professor of Anthropology and Sociology in January 2013. He completed doctoral research at the University of Bristol and post-doctoral fellowship at Cardiff University before joining University of Edinburgh where he taught and researched for over seven years. 

His teaching brings together fields of Anthropology and Sociology of health, reproduction, biotechnologies and the gendered body. The research on the other hand uncovers the local and global dimensions underscoring the production, utilisation and circulation of biomedicine and biotechnologies. In particular his research examines: (a) global politics of biotechnologies (b) emerging bioeconomies (c) cultural production of knowledge (d) subject formation (e) ethical and moral governance (f) transnational therapeutic mobility (g) gendered nature of scientific practice and application. In large part his academic and research interests are focused on the burgeoning rise of bioscience and biotechnologies in India and remain attentive to how gender, sexuality and difference inflect the human condition, institutions and politics.. 

His current research covers two major contemporary developments in the domain of bioscience in India, namely: assisted reproductive technologies and human embryonic stem cells. Through this work he is examining the emerging face of India’s tryst with biotechnologies in a globalised research system. This principally entails: (a) mapping transnational connections linking patients, research laboratories and clinics (b) understanding national/local scientific contexts (c) interrogating moral and ethical debates cross culturally (d) explaining global governance and local regulation of new biotechnologies.

In 2013, Aditya Bharadwaj was awarded the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant for a project examining the emergence of stem cell biotechnologies in India. The project is explaining the agential and structural processes authoring unprecedented new developments in stem cell research and therapeutics in India. The research seeks to understand how stem cell biotechnologies straddle multiple interlaced domains ranging from public health, governance, ethics, markets to therapeutic application.





  • Global Perspectives on Stem Cell Technologies (edited volume). Palgrave Macmillan. 2018.

  • Conceptions: Infertility and Procreative Modernity in India. Berghahn Books, 2016.

  • Conceptions: Infertility and Procreative Technologies in India. Orient BlackSwan, 2016 (India Edition). 

  • Local Cells, Global Science: The Proliferation of Stem Cell Technologies in India. Routledge, 2009. (lead authored with Glasner, P).

  • Risky Relations: Family, Kinship and the New Genetics. Berg, 2005 (coauthored with Featherstone, K, Atkinson, P and Clarke, A).

Journal Articles

  • Vulnerable Truths: Research in the Climate of Political Control, World Anthropologies Commentary. American Anthropologist, 2020, Vol. 122, No. 2, pp – 381 – 393.

  • Cultivated Cure, Regenerated Affliction: Encounters with ALS and Stem Cell Regeneration in India. Medicine Anthropology Theory, 2017, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp –143- 152. 

  • The Indian IVF Saga: A Contemporary History. Reproductive BioMedicine and Society, 2016, Vol. 2, pp – 54-61. 

  • Badnam Science? The Specter of the ‘Bad’ Name and the Politics of Stem Cell Science in India, SAMAJ: South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal | 2015, Online since 15 October 2015, connection on 16 October 2015. URL: 

  • Experimental Subjectification: The Pursuit of Human Embryonic Stem Cells in India, 2013, Ethnos, Vol. 76, No. 1, pp – 84-107. 

  • Subaltern Biology? Local Biologies, Indian Odysseys and the Pursuit of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapies, 2013, Medical Anthropology, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp – 359-73 

  • Ethic of Consensibility, Subaltern Ethicality: The Clinical Application of Embryonic Stem Cells in India, 2013, Biosocieties, Vol. 8, pp – 25-40.

  • Enculturating Cells: Anthropology, Substance and Science of Stem Cells. Annual Review of Anthropology, 2012, Vol. 41, pp – 303-317. 

  • Commentary on Clare Wendland Article - Animating Biomedicine’s Moral Order: The Crisis of Practice in Malawian Medical Training, 2012, Current Anthropology, Vol. 53, No. 6, pp – 755-788. 

  • Guest Editor Introduction for the Special Issue of Culture Medicine and Psychiatry, Sacred Conceptions: Religion in the Global Practice of IVF, 2006, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp – 423-425. 

  • Clinical Theodicies: The Enchanted World of Uncertain Science and Clinical Conception in India. Culture Medicine and Psychiatry, 2006, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp – 451-465. 

  • Why Adoption is not an Option in India: The Visibility of Infertility, the Secrecy of Donor Insemination, and other Cultural Complexities, Social Science and Medicine, 2003, Vol. 56, pp-1867-1880. 

  • Uncertain Risk: Genetic Screening for Susceptibility to Haemochromatosis. Health Risk and Society, 2002, Vol.4, No.3, pp - 227-240. 

  • How Some Indian Baby Makers are Made: Media Narratives and Assisted Conception in India. Anthropology and Medicine, 2000, Vol.7, No.1, pp - 63-78. 

Refereed Book Chapters

  • Repro-generation: The Future of Human Reproduction. In Cecilia Coale Van Hollen and Nayantara Sheoran Appleton (ed.). A Companion to the Anthropology of Reproductive Science and Technology. Wiley Blackwell, forthcoming 2023.

  • The Shroud Stealers: Coronavirus and the Viral Vagility of Prejudice. In Lenore Manderson, Nancy Burke and Ayo Wahlberg (eds.), Viral Loads:  Anthropologies of Urgency in the Time of COVID-19. London: UCL Press, 2021.

  • Bio-crossing Heterotopia: Revisiting Contemporary Stem Cell Research and Therapy in India. In Bharadwaj, A (ed.), Global Perspectives on Stem Cell Technologies (195 – 214). Hampshire, UK: Palgrave MacMillan. 2018 (with Nayantara S. Appleton.).

  • On the everyday ethics of stem cell therapies in India. In Shaw, R.M. (Ed.) Bioethics Beyond Altruism: Donating and Transforming Biological Materials (pp 89 – 112). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 2018. (with Nayantara S, Appleton).

  • Conceiving Life and Death: Stem Cell Technologies and Assisted Conception in India and the Middle East. In Das, Veena and Han, Clara (eds). An Anthropology of Living and Dying in the Contemporary World. Berkeley: University of California Press Berkeley, 2015 (lead author with Marcia Inhorn) 

  • The Other Mother: Supplementary Wombs, Surrogate State and ARTs in India. In Knecht, M Klotz, M and Beck, S (eds.). Reproductive Technologies as Global Form: Ethnographies of Knowledge, Practice, and Transnational Encounters. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2012. 

  • Reproductive Viability and the State: Embryonic Stem Cells in India. In Browner, C and Sargent, C (ed.). Reproduction, Globalisation and the State. Durham NC: Duke, 2010.

  • Assisted Life: The Neoliberal Moral Economy of Embryonic Stem Cells in India. In Birenbaum-Carmeli, D and Inhorn, M. C (ed.). Assisting Reproduction, Testing Genes: Global Encounters with New Biotechnologies. New York: Berghahn Books, 2009. 

  • Biosociality to Bio-Crossings: Encounters with Assisted Conception and Embryonic Stem Cells in India. In Gibbon, S and Novas, C (ed.). Genetics, Biosociality and the Social Sciences: Making Biologies and Identities. London: Routledge, 2008. 

  • Classification and the Experience of Genetic Haemochromatosis. In Atkinson, P and Glasner, P. (ed.). New Genetics, New Identities. London: Routledge, 2006 (lead author with Atkinson, P and Clarke, A). 

  • Genetic Iceberg: Risk and Uncertainty in Cancer Genetics and Haemochromatosis. In Webster, A. (ed.). Innovative Health Technologies: Meanings, Context and Change. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006 (lead author with Atkinson, P and Clarke, A). 

  • Reproductively Disabled Lives: Infertility, Stigma and Suffering in Egypt and India. In Ingstad, B and Whyte, SR (eds.) Disability in Local and Global Worlds. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006 (with Inhorn, M). 

  • Cultures of Embryonic Stem Cell Research in India. In Bender, W., Hauskeller, C. and Manzei, A. (eds.) Crossing Borders: Cultural, Religious and Political Differences Concerning Stem Cell Research. Munster: Agenda Verlag, 2005. 

  • Conception Politics: Medical Egos, Media Spotlights, and the Contest Over Testtube Firsts in India. In Inhorn, M and Vanbalen, F. (ed.) Infertility Around the Globe. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. 

  • Inheritance in Society. Encyclopedia of the Human Genome (with Atkinson, PA and Featherstone, K), London: Nature Publishing Group, 2002. 

Other Publications

  • Chronic Time, Afflcited Lives: Article in Chronic Living Series. Samatosphere, March 8, 2022 

  • Depletions: The Future of Population Decline and Human Rights. In the Future of Human Rights, Globe: The Graduate Institute Review, No. 29, Spring 2022

  • Moment of Surprise: The Anotomy of Biomedical Risk. In The New Frontiers of Risk, Globe: The Graduate Institute Review, No. 26, Autumn 2020. 

  • Public Perceptions of Gamete Donation: A Research Review. Public Understanding of Science, 2009, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp-61-77. (co-authored with Hudson, N; Culley, L; Rapport, F; Johnson, M)

  • Inheritance in Society', Encyclopedia of the Human Genome (with Atkinson, PA and Featherstone, K), London: Nature Publishing Group, 2002.

  • Culture, Infertility and Gender: Vignettes from South Asia and North Africa', Sexual Health Exchange (Royal Tropical Institute Newsletter, The Netherlands), 2002, Vol. 2, pp.14-15.

  • Building Alliances Through Images and Analysis of the Strategies for Communicating Immunization' (with Singh, M.S), Economic and Political Weekly, 2000, February 19-26, pp.667-675.

Aditya Bharadwaj

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