Shuvatri Dasgupta

Doctoral Candidate
I completed a bachelor's degree in history from Presidency University, Kolkata, India, in 2015. I was an exchange student and Charpak Fellow in Sciences Po Paris (Reims campus) during the fall semester in 2015, studying for a certificate programme in European Affairs, and B1 French. I finished my postgraduate in history, also from Presidency University, in 2017, and wrote a dissertation titled 'Beyond local and global narratives: Concept Histories of the Baidya Community in Colonial Bengal, c.1870-1930'. Currently, I am a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, funded by the Cambridge Trust and Rajiv Gandhi Foundation Fellowship.
My doctoral project is on the history of caste, but it is neither limited by a temporal bracket, nor does it focus on a particular caste group. Rather, I focus on the many lives of caste in ever changing historical contexts and across diverse lifeworlds. This allows me to simultaneously navigate several spatio-temporalities, and explore the depths of an eclectic vernacular archive (in Bengali and in Hindi), for a comprehensive picture of the ways in which the historical trajectories of caste have shaped various lives, for several centuries now. Ultimately, my dissertation seeks to establish caste as a category of global concept history in its own right, by illustrating the tremendous potential for abstraction which can be found in vernacular archives from South Asia.

I am generally interested in political thought and intellectual history, literary theory, historiography, question of gender, race, and class, and works on vernacular archives.
HAP seminar on 'Empire' in Lent Term, 2019.
Paper titled ‘Caught in the Middle (east): Entangling and revisualising geographies’ in Columbia University’s workshop ‘South South Intellectual Histories’, October 2016. Conference website:

Paper titled ‘Globalising existence(​astitva​): Transtemporal Concept Histories of the ​Baidya​ Community in Colonial Bengal’ in the Annual Graduate Approaches to Global History Workshop, Pembroke College, University of Oxford, May 2018.

Paper titled ‘Beyond Ethics and Epics: Rethinking the Mahabharatas through the Politics of Religion, Caste and Gender’ in a workshop titled ‘Mahabharatas in Global Intellectual History’ in LMU Munich, November, 2018.

Conference report:

Paper titled ‘From Statistical Surveys to Ethnographic and Anthropological Exercises: Caste in the Colonial Census, c.1870-1911’ in Graduate Research Day, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, April 2019.

Paper titled '‘In what Language does the Subaltern Speak? Juxtaposing caste and gender in colonial South Asia, c.1870-1930’ in Gender and Sexuality Graduate History Conference, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, May 2019.

Paper titled ‘Rethinking Privilege: Juxtaposing Caste, Class, and Gender in Colonial Bengal, c.1872-1930’, in St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata for ‘International Conference on Caste Questions in West Bengal and Bangladesh’, October 2019.

Key publications

Review of 'The Mortal God: Imagining the Sovereign in colonial India', Milinda Banerjee, Cambridge University Press, 2019. in Itinerario, Volume 43, Issue 3, December 2019.

Access here:

Co-authored article in JHI blog (blog of Journal of History of Ideas) titled 'Historicizing Ghosts: Reimagining Realities in Nineteenth Century Popular Bengali Fiction', in February, 2017: