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2008- 2014 Ph.D. Emory University, USA.
2001- 2003 Master of Arts, Jadavpur University, India.
1998- 2001 Bachelor of Arts, Jadavpur University, India.
Professor and Chair of the History of the Anthropocene, University of Zürich
2020 - 2021
Associate Professor, Department of History, Drexel University, USA. Affiliate Center for Science, Technology and Society (2020-21), Department of Global Studies and Modern Languages, (2017-21) and Urban Strategy (2016-21).
2014 – 2020
Assistant Professor, Department of History, Drexel University, USA.
GRANTS AND VISITING FELLOWSHIPS
Senior Fellow, American Institute of Asian Studies (AIIS), Ashoka University, India.
Fellow, Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies (FRIAS), Freiburg University, Germany.
Non-Resident Fellow, Center for the Advanced Studies of India (CASI), University of Pennsylvania, USA.
2019 -- 2020
Fellow, Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, Princeton University, USA.
2016 – 2017
Research Fellow, International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden University, The Netherlands.
2011 – 2012
Junior Fellow of American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), Center for Studies of Social Sciences, Kolkata, India.
Empire and Ecology in the Bengal Delta: The Making of Calcutta. Studies in Environment and History Series (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018) https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108348867 (Indian edition February 2019; Paperback June 2019).
Maya Jassanof New York Review of Books; Rohan D’Souza H-Water; Jeremy Schmidt Environmental Values; David Arnold English Historical Review; Renisa Mawani Law, Humanities and Culture; Tirthankar Roy Journal of Interdisciplinary History; Jenia Mukherjee Journal of History; Benjamin Siegel Environmental History; Gagan Preet Singh H-Asia; John Hutnyk South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies; Peter Robb Environment and History; Sanjukta Das Gupta Conservation and Society; Wilko Hardenberg, H-Sci-Med-Tech; Nabaparna Ghosh, Journal of Asian Studies; Sujit Sivasundaram, American Historical Review, Kaustubh Mani, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies.
Select Interviews and Blog discussions:
XQ’s Conversation no. XV, Chapati Mystery
Through the Rear View Mirror, Legal History Blog
Center for Advanced Studies in India Podcast
Public Seminar Book Talk
Appraising Risk Podcast
New Books Network, Indian Ocean World
Refereed Journal Articles:
2021 “‘A River is not a Pendulum’: Sediments of Science in the World of Tides” in Isis, 112, no. 1 (March 2021): 141-149. Special Issues on “Knowing the Littorals.” https://doi.org/10.1086/713567 (OA)
2020 “Indian City and its ‘Restive Publics’: A Review Essay,” Modern Asian Studies 53, no. 4 (2020), 1-31. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0026749X19000301(invited).
“Speculation: A Concept History,” Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 40, no. 1 (2020), 51-56. Special Issue on “Concepts of the Urban.” https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-8186038
2019 “Land Dispossession in South Asia,” The Oxford Research Encyclopedia for Asian Studies. ed. David Ludden (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019). DOI:
2019 “Provincializing the History of Speculation from Colonial India,” History Compass, 17: e12517 (2019). doi:10.1111/hic3.12517
“Fluid Histories: Swamps, Law and the Company-State in Colonial Bengal,” Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient. 61, no. 5-6 (2018): 1036-73. Special Issue on “Repossessing Property in South Asia: Land, Rights and Law across Modern/Early Modern Divide.” doi:10.1163/15685209-12341466
2018 “Discipline and Drain: Settling the Moving Bengal Delta,” Global Environment 11, (2018): 236-257. Special Issue on “Environment, Disaster and Property.” doi:10.3197/ge.2018.110203
2017 “Ethics/ Reading /Sex: How do We Read?” Feminist Formations 29, no. 3 (2017): 193-7. doi:10.1353/ff.2017.0041
2016 “Hoarding Land: Interwar Housing Speculation and Rent Profiteering in Colonial Calcutta,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 36, no. 3 (2016): 465-82. https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201x-3699007
2015 “The History of Eminent Domain in British Colonial Thought and Legal Practice in South Asia,” Economic and Political Weekly 50, no. 50 (2015): 45-53.
Refereed Book Chapters:
Forthcoming, “Prophetic Science: The Government of Wind in the Bay of Bengal” in Narrative Science, ed. Mary Morgan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021 OA), ERC Grant # 694732.
2020 “Politics of Dwelling: Divergent Spaces in Calcutta,” Richardson Dilworth and Timothy Weaver eds. Role of Ideas in Urban Political Development, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020), 202-14.
2013 “Geography’s Myth: The Many Origins of Calcutta” Gyanendra Pandey, ed., Unarchived Histories: The Mad and the Trifling in the Colonial and Postcolonial World (New York: Routledge, 2013), 144-58.
2008 “Nation-less Bodies and National Identity in Jyotirmoyee Devi’s Epar Ganga Opar Ganga” Ansgar Nünning, Birgit Neumann and Bo Petersson, eds., Narrative and Identity: Theoretical Approaches and Critical Analyses (Trier: Wissenschaftler Verlag Trier, 2008), 127-40.
2008 “Of Shadows and Silences: Militant Nationalism in Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines” Klaus Stierstorfer and Annette Kern-Stähler, eds., Literary Encounters of Fundamentalism: A Case Book (Heidelberg: Winter Verlag, 2008), 75-88.
2020 Benjamin Siegel, Hungry Nation: Food, Famine and the Making of Modern India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018) Environmental History 25, no. 1 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1093/envhis/emz064
2020 Craig Jeffrey, Modern India: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018) American Historical Review 125, Issue 4, October 2020, Pages 1355–1357, https://doi.org/10.1093/ahr/rhz1263
2019 “Microhistory of a Forgotten Disaster,” Benjamin Kingsway, An Imperial Disaster: The Bengal Cyclone of 1876 (New Delhi: Speaking Tiger, 2018) Economic and Political Weekly, 54, no. 36 (2019). https://www.epw.in/journal/2019/36/book-reviews/micro-history-forgotten-disaster.html
2019 Radhika Mongia, Indian Migration and Empire: A Colonial Genealogy of the Modern State (Raleigh: Duke University Press, 2018) H-Diplo. http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=53256
2019 Renisa Mawani, Across Oceans of Law: The Komagata Maru and Jurisdiction of the Time of Empire (Raleigh: Duke University Press, 2017) Law and History Review 37, no. 2 (May 2019): 639-41. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0738248019000282
2017 Amrita Pande, Wombs in Labor: Transnational Commercial Surrogacy in India (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014) Enterprise and Society 18, no. 2 (2017): 474-76. https://doi.org/10.1017/eso.2016.88
2016 Andrew Fitzmaurice, Sovereignty, Property and Empire 1500 - 2000 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014) Political Theory 45, no. 3 (2016): 416-19.
2015 Andrew Sartori, Liberalism in Empire: An Alternative History (Berkley: University of California Press, 2014) for South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 38, no. 2 (2015): 351-52. https://doi.org/10.1080/00856401.2015.1020476
Sandeep Banerjee “Landscaping India: From Colony to Postcolony” (PhD Thesis: Syracuse University, 2013), Dissertation Reviews, February, 2015. http://dissertationreviews.org/archives/10573
2012 Richard Hornsey, The Spiv and the Architect: Unruly Life in Postwar London (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010) Gender, Place & Culture 19, no.1 (2012): 121-23.
2011 Mariam Dossal, Theatre of Conflict, City of Hope: Bombay/Mumbai, 1660 to Present Times (Bombay: Oxford University Press, 2010) Urban Studies 48, no.11 (2011): 2429-31.
2006 (in German) Río-Álvaro, Constanza Del und Luis Miguel García-Mainar, eds. Memory, Imagination and Desire in Contemporary Anglo-American Literature and (Heidelberg: Winter Verlag, 2004) KULT_online, 11 August 2006. http://kult-online.uni-giessen.de/archiv/2006/ausgabe-11
Report Commissioned by the Government of West Bengal, India
2011 Co-authored with Paromita Chakravarti, Imagined Homes: Homeless People Envision Shelters (Kolkata: The Calcutta Samaritans, 2011).
2020 Co-authored with Megnaa Mehtta, “More Than Rising Water: Living Tenuously in the Sundarbans. Part 1,” The Diplomat https://thediplomat.com/2020/08/more-than-rising-water-living-tenuously-in-the-sundarbans/ and “Is the Managed Retreat Plan for the Sundarbans Misguided? Part 2,” The Diplomat https://thediplomat.com/2020/09/is-the-managed-retreat-plan-for-the-sundarbans-misguided/
2020 Co-authored with Megnaa Mehtta, “Shifting Lives in the Mangrove: Is Concrete the Way Forward,” The Telegraph https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/is-concrete-the-way-forward-in-rebuilding-the-sunderbans/cid/1784882
2020 Co-authored with Banu Subrahmaniam, “A Viral Education: Scientific Lessons from India’s WhatsApp University,” Somatosphere http://somatosphere.net/2020/a-viral-education-scientific-lessons-from-indias-whatsapp-university.html/
2020 Co-authored with Banu Subrahmaniam, “Technofascism in India,” n+1.
(republished in Jessie Kindig, Mark Krotov and Marco Roth eds. There is no Outside: Covid19 Dispatches (New York: Verso 2020).
2020 Almanac of a Tide Country, Items SSRC (2020) https://items.ssrc.org/ways-of-water/almanac-of-a-tide-country.
2018 Co-authored with Seth Denbo, “When a Journal is a Scam: Predatory Journals and Scholarship as Public Good,” Perspectives in History.
2018 Introduction “Discovery of India(s): Resisting the National Biography,” special issue edited by Arvind Elangovan in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 41, no. 3 (2018): 601-604, doi:10.1080/00856401.2018.1485621.
2017 Co-authored with Adam Knowles, “Ideal Subject of Totalitarianism,” Revue des femmes philosophes, 127-138 http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0026/002655/265538m.pdf.
2017 “Arbit” Special Issue on Everyday Keywords in South Asia, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 40, no. 2 (2017): 279-80. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00856401.2017.1292602
2017 “Being River: The Law, the Person and the Unthinkable,” World Legal History, H-Law. https://networks.h-net.org/node/16794/blog/world-legal-history-blog/177310/being-river-law-person-and-unthinkable
2017 “Soaking Ecologies: Rethinking Asian Urbanism,” International Institute of Asian Studies Newsletter, 76. http://iias.asia/the-newsletter/article/soaking-ecologies-rethinking-asian-urbanism
2016 “Manufactured Landscapes: Law and Hydraulics in the Bengal Delta,” Technology Stories: Past and Present, June 2016. http://www.technologystories.org/manufactured-landscapes-law-and-hydraulics-in-the-bengal-delta/
2012 (in Bengali) “Wall Street Theke,” Anandabazar Patrika, November 6, 2012.
- Interview: “Archives of Economic Lives, Cambridge University https://www.histecon.magd.cam.ac.uk/archives-asia/interviews/bhattacharyya.html
- Podcast: “Climate History,” https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/climate-history-podcast/id1022409974 (Forthcoming May 2021).
- Movie Research and Appearance, “Morris and Indigo: Drexel’s Collection,” https://drexel.edu/drexelcollection/exhibitions-events/exhibitions/Gateway/
- Podcast: “Technofascism in India” Tech Won’t Save Us: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/technofascism-in-india-banu-subramaniam-debjani-bhattacharyya/id1507621076?i=1000479574285
- Podcast: “The Science of Planning: Notes from Indian Economic History” at the HPPE Seminar, London School of Economics, Episode 5 Ceteris non Paribus, The History of Economic Thought Podcast https://ceterisnonparibus.net/debjani-bhattacharyya-on-the-science-of-planning-notes-from-indian-economic-history-at-the-hppe-seminar-episode-5/
- Podcast: “A Naturally-Forming Harbor: Silt, Geological Testimony and the Bengal Delta,” Centre for South Asian Study Seminar, Cambridge University. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/centre-of-south-asian-studies-seminars/id1112589084?mt=2