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Srimati Basu

Research Interests:
Social Theory
Masculinities Studies
Marriage and Kinship

Ph.D., Ohio State University
M.A., Purdue University
B.A. Presidency College, Calcutta University


Srimati Basu is Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Anthropology, and a member of the Committee on Social Theory. She serves as the President of the Association for Feminist Anthropology, 2021-2023. Srimati has an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. from Ohio State University in Cultural Studies/ Anthropology/ Women's Studies, and her teaching, research and community work interests include Global Feminisms, Law, Gender-Based Violence, Social Movements, Feminist Methodologies, and Masculinities. At present, she is writing a monograph on anti-feminist men's rights groups, following a 2013-14 Fulbright Fellowship to conduct fieldwork with MRAs across Indian cities. She has recently begun a  research project on Indian women private detectives with fellowships from National Endowment for Humanities/ American Institute of Indian Studies and from Sisters in Crime.

Dr. Basu's research tracks the legacies of feminist reforms: in the monographs She Comes to Take Her Rights: Indian Women, Property and Propriety (SUNY Press, 1999) and The Trouble with Marriage: Feminists Confront Law and Violence in India (University of California Press, 2015) and the anthology Dowry and Inheritance in the series Issues in Indian Feminism (Kali for Women, 2005). The anthology Conjugality Unbound: Sexual Economies, State Regulation and the Marital Form in India (Women Unlimited, 2015, coedited with Lucinda Ramberg) continues the exploration of marriage and conjugality.

Some other pieces on property, law, marriage, violence and popular culture appear in journals including Feminist Anthropology, Signs, Feminist Studies, Frontiers, QED: A Journal of LGBTQ Worldmaking, Critical Analysis of Law, International Feminist Journal of Politics, Feminist Encounters, Law Culture and Humanities, Feminist Media Studies, Journal of Legal Pluralism, Canadian Journal of Women and Law and Economic and Political Weekly, in anthologies including The Oxford Handbook of Language and Sexuality (2022), #Metoo and Beyond: Perspectives on a Global Movement (2022), Bombay Brokers (2021), 50th Anniversary Commemorative Volume of Contributions to Indian Sociology (2019), Men and Feminism in India (2018), Sexuality Studies: Oxford India Studies in Contemporary Society (2013), and New South Asian Feminisms: Paradoxes and Possibilities (2012), and encyclopedia entries in the Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History (2019) and the International Encyclopedia of Anthropology (2018) . Dr. Basu has also participated as subject expert in the UN Expert Group Meeting on "Family policy development: achievements and challenges, written for the Ms. Magazine blog, India Today, Times of India and Kafila," and participated in recent podcasts including Doing Sociology, That Anthro Podcast and Riddle me That: True Crime.

Links to Dr. Basu's publications, public and popular work, and descriptions of her courses appear below.

Ms. Srimati Basu - International Day of Families 2015



The Trouble with Marriage: Feminists Confront Law and Violence in India. University of California Press, January 2015 and Orient Blackswan 2015…

Conjugality Unbound: Sexual Economies, State Regulation and the Marital Form in India, coedited with Lucinda Ramberg (Women Unlimited, 2014)…

She Comes to Take Her Rights: Indian Women, Property and Propriety. Albany, NY: SUNY Press,  March 1999; New Delhi: Kali for Women, 2001.

.---., ed. 2005. Issues in Indian Feminism: Dowry and Inheritance. Series: Issues in Indian Feminism; Series Editor: Rajeswari Sunder Rajan. New Delhi: Women Unlimited; London: Zed Books.

Selected Journal Articles

“The End(s) of Marriage: Feminists, Antifeminists and Indian Law” Feminist Anthropology 1.2 (2020): 184-191
“The Cinematic Pleasures of Indian Men’s Rights Activists” Special Issue of Critical Analysis of Law on “Queer Legal Studies,” 6.1 (2019): 63-81.

“Hiding in Plain Sight: Disclosure, Identity and the Indian Men’s Rights Movement” QED: A Journal of LGBTQ Worldmaking 5.3 (Fall 2018): 117-129.

“The Irretrievable Spoils of Marriage: Fault, Property and the Law Commission of India” Journal of Indian Law and Society 6 (Monsoon) JILS (2015): 22-43.

Basu, S. and Takenaka, A. (2018) “Introduction: Feminist Politics and Activism in Reactionary Eras” Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics, 1.2 (Winter 2018)

“Looking through Misogyny: Indian Men's Rights Activists, Law and Challenges for Feminism” Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, Special Issue on “Men’s Groups: Challenging Feminism,” 28.1 (2016): 28-51.

“Gathering Steam: Organizing Strategies of the Indian Men’s Rights Movement” Economic and Political Weekly 50.44 (2015): 67-75.

“Judges of Normality:  Mediating Marriage in the Family Courts of Kolkata, India” Signs 37.2 (2012): 469-492.

“Impossible Translation: Beyond the Legal Body in Two South Asian Family Courts” Law, Culture and Humanities 7.3 (2011): 358-375.

“Sexual Property: Staging Rape and Marriage in Indian Law and Feminist Theory” Feminist Studies 37.1 (Spring 2011): 185-211.

“V is for Veil, V is for Ventriloquism: Global Feminisms in the Vagina Monologues,”  Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, 31.1 (2010): 31-62.

“Separate and Unequal:  Muslim Women, Women’s Movements and Un-uniform Family Law in India” Special issue of International Feminist Journal of Politics on “Engaging Islam: Feminisms, Religiosities, at Self-Determinations” 10.4 (2008): 495-517.

“Playing Off Courts: The Negotiation of Divorce and Violence in Plural Legal Settings in Kolkata, India” Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law 52 (2007): 41-75. Cited in International Council on Human Rights Policy: Report on Legal Pluralism, Human Rights and State & Non-State Law (2009).

“Shading the Secular: Law at Work in The Indian Higher Courts.” Cultural Dynamics, 15.2 (2003): 131-152.

“The Blunt Cutting Edge: The Construction of Sexuality in the Bengali ‘Feminist’ Magazine Sananda.” Feminist Media Studies 1.2 (2001): 179-196.

“The Bleeding Edge: Resistance as Strength and Paralysis” (Special Issue on Feminism and the Politics of Resistance) Indian Journal of Gender Studies 7.2 (2000): 185-202.

“Cutting to Size: Property and Gendered Identity In the Indian Higher Courts.” Thamyris:Mythmaking from Past to Present (Special Issue on “Gender in the Making in Contemporary India,” guest edited by Rajeswari Sunder Rajan). 4.1 (1997): 41-72.

Selected Book Chapters:

“Foreword” The Violent Domestic: Law, its Practice and Strategies of Survival, eds. Supurna Banerjee, Nandini Ghosh, Madhurima Mukhopadhyay and Ruchira Goswami. New Delhi: Zubaan, 2022,…

“Language and the Regulation of Marriage” Coauthored with Rusty Barrett, for the Oxford Handbook of Language and Sexuality edited by Kira Hall and Rusty Barrett, Oxford University Press,

“In Singular and Plural Voice: #Metoo, Law and Solidarity.” Essay for the volume #MeToo and Beyond: Perspectives on a Global Movement, ed. Cristina Alcalde and Paula-Irene Villa, University Press of Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky, July 2022,…

“Rajni Pandit: Detector of Truths” Essay for the volume Bombay Brokers, ed. Lisa Bjorkman. Durham, NC: Duke UP 2021

“Gender and Law: A Retrospective” in the 50th Anniversary Commemorative Volume of Contributions to Indian Sociology, edited by Sanjay Srivastava, Yasmeen Arif and Janaki Abraham. New Delhi: Sage, 2019.

“On Disloyalty.” Men and Feminism in India, edited by Romit Chowdhury and Zaid al Basset, Routledge, 2018, pp. 144-163.

“Unfair Advantage?: Polygyny and Adultery in Indian Personal Law” Filing Religion: State, Hinduism, and Courts of Law,” ed. Daniela Berti, Gilles Tarrabout and Raphael Voix, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 301-324.

“Feminist Organizing Around Violence Against Women in Mali, Peru, and India.”  Co-authored with Cristina Alcalde and Emily Burrill, for the anthology Provocations: A Transnational Reader in the History of Feminist Thought, ed. Cristina Alcalde, Susan Bordo and Ellen Rosenman. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2015.

“Dreaming a Better Court for Women: Adjudication and Subjectivity in the Family Courts of Kolkata, India,” in Marrying in South Asia: Shifting Concepts, Changing Practices in a Globalising World, ed. Rajni Palriwala and Ravinder Kaur. New Delhi: Orient Black Swan, 2013.…

"Beyond Equivalence: Body and Language in Family Courts" in Sexuality Studies: Oxford India Studies in Contemporary Society ed. Sanjay Srivastava, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2013;…;

“Family Law Organizations and the Mediation of Resources and Violence in Kolkata, India” in New South Asian Feminisms: Paradoxes and Possibilities ed. Srila Roy London: Zed Books, 2012.

“Playing off Courts: The Negotiation of Divorce and Violence in Plural Legal Settings in Kolkata” in Contesting Nation: Gendered Violence in South Asia: Notes on the Postcolonial Present ed. Angana Chatterji and Lubna Chaudhry, New Delhi: Zubaan 2012; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

 “Beyond Property Refusal: Indian Women’s Discourses of Inheritance” in Negotiating Spaces:  Legal Domains, Gender Concerns and Community Constructs ed. Flavia Agnes. New Delhi: Oxford University Press India, 2012.

“The Legal Structures of Kinship: Re-Working Affinity, Residence and Entitlement in the Kolkata Family Court” in Histories of Intimacy and Situated Ethnography ed. Karen Isaksen Leonard, Gayatri Reddy, and Ann Grodzins Gold. New Delhi: Manohar Publications, 2010.

"Transformations of Dowry in Contemporary India: Marriage Practices and Feminist Discourses," in Dowry: Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice, ed. Tamsin Bradley, Emma Tomalin and Mangala Subramanian. London: Zed Books, 2010.

“Dower Systems” Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History, ed. Bonnie G. Smith, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007 December.

“Refracted Light: Teaching In an Antique Land.” in Amitav Ghosh: Critical Perspectives, ed. Brinda Bose, New Delhi: Pencraft International, 2002.

“"Describing the Body: The Writing of Sex and Gender Identity for the Contemporary Bengali Woman." In Confronting the Body: The Politics of Physicality in Colonial and Postcolonial India, ed. Jim Mills and Satadru Sen, Anthem Press (London), 2003.

“Why Would She Fight Her Family? Indian Women’s Negotiations of Discourses of Inheritance.” In Gender At Work In Economic Life, ed. Gracia Clark. Society for Economic Anthropology Monograph Series, Altamira Press, 2003.

"Sananda and the Discourse of Sexuality: Claiming Transgression." Translating Desire: The Construction of Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary India, ed. Brinda Bose, New Delhi: Katha Press, 2002.

“The Personal and the Political: Indian women and Inheritance Law.” In Religion and Personal Law in India, ed. Gerald Larsen. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001.

“Cutting to Size: Property and Gendered Identity In the Indian Higher Courts.” In  Signposts: Gender in Post-Independence India, ed. Rajeswari Sunder Rajan. New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1999; New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2000.

Selected Encyclopedia Articles:

“Family Law in Asia,” Coauthored with Yi Zhang, for the Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History ed. Howard Chiang et al., Macmillan Reference USA, 2019.;jsessionid=5E45EDEBE3FDEA8E3C3E05159D8A28F0?N=197+4294921852&Ntk=P_EPI&Ntt=168067965868418304515269592251794667352&Ntx=mode%2Bmatchallpartial

“Postcoloniality.” Co-Authored with Purnima Bose. Invited Entry submitted in August 2015 to the International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, section on Political and Legal Anthropology. Wiley-Blackwell: Wiley Online Library, 2018.

Selected Awards

National Endowment for Humanities/American Institute for Indian Studies Senior Fellowship for "superior scholars/Indologists in the humanities,” 2021.

University of Kentucky Global Impact Award for Distinguished Faculty Achievements in International Research and Scholarship, 2020.

Sisters in Crime Academic Research Grant, 2019.

Fulbright-Nehru Core Research Fellowship to India, 2013-14.

American Institute for Indian Studies Senior Research Fellowship,2013-14 (declined).

Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residency Award, September-October 2010.

Ms. Scholar: Ms. Magazine Writer’s Workshop Scholarship, 2009.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett Award for Service to the Women's Studies Program, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1994.

The Ohio State University Presidential Fellowship, 1993-1994.

Woodrow Wilson Research Grant In Women's Studies, 1993

Selected Popular Pieces:

"Portable No-Fusion"

"Beyond Violence"

Review of It Was Rape (dir.Jennifer Baumgardner, 2013), Let’s Talk About It (dir. Deepa Mehta, 2006) and Kismet: How Turkish Soap Operas Changed the World (dir. Nina Maria Paschalidou, 2013). Films for the Feminist Classroom, 5.2 (2014 [published 2019])

Ms. Magazine Online:

Six Reasons to be wary of Death penalty for Delhi Rapists…

In India or US, No Safe Haven from Gender Violence…

Rites of Gun Passage

Click! My Grandmother's Resistance (as part of Bitch Media/ Ms. Magazine blog carnival in honor of Feminist Coming Out Day)

Marriage, Unnatural in Every Way

"On March 8, Bouquets or Marches?"

Can Women Office Holders Really Change India?

India Today:

 “Adultery: Those Close Encounters” Part of Cover Story “Sexy Secrets: Sex Survey 2008” India Today December 1, 2008: 44-49.

Times of India

Opinion: “Why Rape Shouldn’t be Linked to Promise of Marriage” Times of India Plus 8 August 2021…


Theaters of Rape

Selected Reports/Audio/ Videos:

Guest on That Anthro Podcast (along with Michelle Ramirez): “Association of Feminist Anthropologists Celebrates Women's History Month” March 2021…

Guest on Riddle me That!: True Crime Podcast: The Noida Double Murders Conclusion: Analysis with Women's Studies Prof. Dr. Srimati Basu April 2021…

Interview, “India’s Top Court Strikes Down Islamic Divorce” Worldview, Interviewed by Jerome McDonnell, WBEZ 91.5 Chicago August 29, 2017

New Books Network Podcast, “The Trouble with Marriage,” with Ian Cook

UN Expert Group Meeting on "Family policy development: achievements and challenges," 14-15 May 2015, UN Headquarters NYC and Video for International Day of the Family 2015: and…

2nd International Men Engage Symposium Delhi 2014

Teaching/ University of Kentucky
  • Food, Culture, Gender (Undergraduate)
  • Masculinities (Undergraduate)
  •  Gender, Power, Violence (Undergraduate)
  • Love and Risk: A Special Course for the Year of South Asia
  • Justice (Graduate -- Social Theory: Interdisciplinary, Team-Taught)
  •  Feminism, Law and Courts (Graduate/ Undergraduate)
  •  Feminist Theory (Graduate); also Feminist Theory (Undergraduate)
  •  Asian Women (Graduate/ Undergraduate) [crosslisted with Anthropology]
  • Social Movements (Undergraduate)
  • Doing Feminist Research (Methods—Undergraduate)
  • Feminist Research Methods (Graduate)
  • Gender Roles in Cross-Cultural Perspective (Undergraduate) [crosslisted with Anthropology; also as Online course]
  • GWS Senior Seminar Capstone.
  • Law, Sex, Family (Graduate Social Theory course, crosslisted with GWS)
  • Colonialism, Postcolonialism and Gender (Graduate, crosslisted as Social Theory Seminar 690)
  • Love (Graduate)