Profile
Shriya Patnaik new

Shriya Patnaik

PhD Researcher in International History and Politics
Spoken languages
English, Hindi, Oriya, Sanskrit, French
Areas of expertise
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Human rights
  • International History
  • Minority Rights
  • Oral History
  • Social and Cultural History
  • Imperial History
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • South Asian Studies
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • South Asia
  • India
  • United Kingdom

PhD Thesis

 

Title: Re-constructing and Re-imagining the Matriarchal Community of Mahari-Devadasis: Gender, Subalternity and Human Rights Projects in Postcolonial India (1947-2015)

PhD Supervisor, 2nd Reader & external Co-supervisor: Nicole Bourbonnais, Aditya Bharadwaj and Frédérique Apffel-Marglin (Professor Emerita, Smith College)

Expected completion date: 2024

Thesis Description: Shriya’s research focuses on the historical genealogy surrounding discourses related to prostitution, trafficking, sex-worker rights, and civil society movements in colonial and postcolonial India. In particular, she focuses on the case-study of the now-extinct matriarchal community of temple-dancers called Mahari-Devadasis in the eastern state of Orissa (a matrilineal community categorized as ‘religious prostitutes’ in the modern Indian nation-state), along with their legal and healthcare rights under international humanitarian conventions in the 21st century. Her research is methodologically reliant on oral histories, colonial and postcolonial period archival records, along with UN/ILO humanitarian conventions on the rights of marginalized communities in the Global South. Her work spans across archives in India, the United Kingdom, and Geneva. Shriya has pursued her Bachelor in History from Cornell University (with Honors), and has subsequently pursued her Master in International History with a focus on Gender Studies from the Columbia University-London School of Economics dual degree MA-MSc program (with a Distinction). Besides her academic interests, she has actively worked in the public policy and NGO/development sectors in India on gender and human rights projects, and these experiences have played a crucial role in shaping her research focus on women’s rights and minority rights initiatives in postcolonial societies at a transnational scale. In terms of her linguistic abilities, she is fully-proficient in English, Hindi and Oriya, has medium-proficiency in Sanskrit, and beginner-level proficiency in French. Shriya is also a PhD affiliate with the Graduate Institute Gender Centre and the Global Migration Centre. 

 

Profile


Shriya is a Swiss National Science Foundation Doc.Ch Fellow and is affiliated with the Graduate Institute Gender Centre for her doctoral project. She has pursued her Bachelor in History from Cornell University (with Honors), and has subsequently pursued her Master in International History with a focus on Gender Studies from the Columbia University-London School of Economics dual degree MA-MSc program (with a Distinction). During her undergraduate years, she has been part of a Study Abroad Exchange program at Oxford University [Mansfield College]. During her trajectory so far, she has been closely involved in conducting archival and qualitative research across various universities. Besides her academic interests, she has also worked in the public policy and NGO/development sectors on gender and human rights projects, and these experiences have played a crucial role in shaping her research focus on women’s rights and minority rights initiatives in postcolonial societies at a transnational scale. 

 

Academic Work experience

 

Research Experience

  • International Organisations Stipend Research Fellow at Swiss Network for International Studies (2021)
  • PhD Research Affiliate at IHEID Gender Centre (2020-2024)
  • PhD Research Affiliate at IHEID Global Migration Centre (2021-2024) 
  • Archival Research Assistant at Columbia University Rare Books and Manuscripts Library (2015-2016)
  • Research Assistant at Cornell University Future of Minority Studies Project (2010-2014)
  • Research Assistant at Cornell University Language Acquisition Lab (2011-2014)
     

Research Interests

 

  • International and Global History
  • Gender
  • Humanitarian Approaches of International Development Organisations
  • Civil Society Movements
  • Histories of Marginalization
  • Subaltern Studies
  • British Colonial History
  • Decolonization
  • Women’s Rights
  • Minority Rights

 

Relevant Publications and Works

 

1. Shriya Patnaik, “The Lost Life Stories of Mahari-Devadasis in Postcolonial India (1947-2015)”, Borderlines (2021):
 
2. Shriya Patnaik, “Marginalizing the Matriarchal, Minority Subject: A Critical Analysis of Human Rights and Women’s Reform Projects in Colonial and Postcolonial India through the Case-Study of the ‘Mahari-Devadasi’”, Electronic Journal of Social and Strategic Studies, Special Issue (2021): pp. 59-88. (DOI: 10.47362/EJSSS.2021.2105): 

3. Shriya Patnaik, “The Invisible Voices of India’s Informal Sector Sex Workers”, LSE South Asia Centre Blog (2021):

4. Shriya Patnaik, “The Missing Life Stories of India’s Sex Workers”, Graduate Institute Gender Centre (2020):

5. Swiss Network for International Studies Podcast

6. Davis Projects for Peace Report, “Resurrect, Restore and Revive the Dignity of Railway Station Children”

7. Paper Presentation for Cambridge University Politico – Intellectual History Workshop on Twentieth Century India (2021):

 

Fellowships, Grants and Awards
 

  • SNSF Doc.Ch Grant, Swiss National Science Foundation (2022-2024) 
  • Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship, Federal Commission for Scholarships, Switzerland (2020-2022)
  • Graduate Institute Community Scholarship (2019-2020)
  • Swiss Network for International Studies, International Organizations Research Stipend Fellow (March-July 2021)
  • North American Oral History Association Conference Grant (2021)
  • Pierre Du Bois Foundation Travel Grant (2021)
  • Davis Projects for Peace Award (2016-2017)
  • Women’s International Leadership Award – International House, New York (2015-2016)
  • Columbia University Alliance Fellowship (2015)
  • London School of Economics Merit Scholarship (2016)
  • Cornell University Tata Scholarship (2010-2014)
  • Cornell University Anne Macintyre Litchfield History Award & Cornelis W. Dekiewet History Award (2013-2014)

 

Links

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