Arpita Chakraborty

Research Interests

Postcolonial feminism; Caste; Feminist IR: masculinity; political violence

Background & Qualification

MA Media & Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai (2012); BA English Literature University of Calcutta (2010);

Arpita has worked briefly in academic publications before starting her PhD. She co-directed ‘Bharatmata Ki Jai’, a national award winning documentary film in 2012. She writes occasionally for a online and print sources in India.

Research Overview

Creation of the myth of ‘manliness’: Interrogating the link between masculinity and political violence in India.

This project will analyse connections between masculinity and political violence, and whether ‘manliness’ calls for a degree of violence. It situates itself within the intersection of Postcolonial International Relations, Conflict Resolution and Gender Studies and looks at how violence is defined, how masculinity and violence have become interconnected through religion in certain societies, and how this has led to its normalisation. The role of colonisation in postcolonial countries have also made the political use of violence a masculine prerogative. Through a discourse analysis of the written works of three politico-religious leaders of India from early twentieth century: Swami Vivekananda, M.S. Golwalkar, and M.K. Gandhi ,I will show how normalisation of the use of violence for assertion of masculinity was firmly embedded in an anti-colonial, religious discourse with a political end.

These leaders are important because of their different positions in the spectrum of religiosity: while Golwalkar in known as the father of the extreme right-wing Hindu organisation RSS and allegedly admired Hitler, Swami Vivekananda wanted a rejuvenation of the Hindu religion through harmony with other religions, but if necessary, through forceful submission. Gandhi, however, was a firm proponent of non-violence. Therefore, the intention of this project is to show that irrespective of extremity, religion can often work as the binder between masculinity and political violence. This project will help to locate how this association takes place in praxis.

Contact Details


Selected Conferences:

  • ‘Being a Man’ as Solution to Colonial Problems: The Idea of Masculinity in the Works of Swami Vivekananda, Sibeal Annual Conference, National University of Galway, 18-19 November 2016
  • ‘Wives as Doorways to Citizenship: The case of Bangladeshi enclaves in India’, Borderlands: Journal of Gender Studies Biennial Gender Research Conference, University of Hull, 23 November 2016.
  • Co-authored and presented a paper “Hijab in the Age of Instagram: Critique of the Theory of Oversharing and Digital Stigma” in a Graduate Students’ Conference, Frames of Reference, organised by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai in December 2014.
  • Attended the National Conference of the Indian Association for Women’s Studies at Guwahati in February 2014