Bandana Purkayastha

Professor of Sociology and Asian and Asian American Studies

Bandana Purkayastha is Professor of Sociology and Asian & Asian American Studies. She served as Head, Sociology, at the University of Connecticut (UCONN) from 2011-2016 Leadership. Her current research interests focus on human rights/human security, migration and migrants, intersectionality, and violence. Her earlier research on ethnicity, racism, gender, violence and peace has been published in many countries. She currently serves on International Sociological Association’ executive committee (2018-2022).  She was awarded American Sociological Association/Asian American section’s Contributions to the Field (career) award in 2016, andUCONN College of Libral Arts and Sciences Research Excellence award in 2019.  She is American Sociological Association’s Jessie Bernard award co-winner for 2019.  (      

Current Scholarly Projects: Currently, I am working on three main projects.   Oneproject focuses on Water, Inequalities and Rights. I spent several months in India, as a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at JNU (in 2016), and on a senior Fulbright Nehru professional excellence award(2017) gathering data for this project.  I also have some data from the US.   A secondproject with Dr Anjana Narayan (CSU-Pomona) and an international, interdisciplinary team of scholars focuses on the methodologies and theories of studying Hinduism and Islam in the South Asian countries and the US where Hindus and Muslims are part of the majority or minority groups. This project is grounded in scholarly writing in South Asia, and pays attention to the local, national, and transnational context within which highly educated women live their religions.  A third project, with Professor Marysol Asencio, is a Connecticut-focused study on groups of immigrants and refugees.  We are tracing how recent migrant groups have fared in one of the richest states of the US.

I continue to write about migrants, human rights, and human insecurity reflecting on the rapidly changing structures that shape migrant experiences across the world.  In 2018, I edited a special issue of Current Sociologyon Migration, Migrants, and Human Rights. Other recent publications include Human Trafficking: Trade for Sex, Labor and Organs(with Farhan Navid Yousaf), I guest edited Feminisms and Gender in the Indian Diasporas for Economic and Political Weekly(EPW’s April 27, 2019 issue), and coedited Indian Transnationalism with Ajaya Sahoo (Routledge, forthcoming). Several articles and chapters, based on plenary talks over the last two years, are forthcoming; these include “The Arc of Justice in the Era of Routinized Violence” (ISA, Toronto, 2018),  “Distancing as Governance” (international workshop on refugees, Kolkata, November 2018). and Thinking about Knowledge Categories, Contexts, Voices and Silences (ISA Vienna 2016, RC-32 invited session).

Teaching and Mentoring: I have been fortunate to get so many opportunities to work with a variety of graduate and undergraduate students.  I have also worked with post doctoral scholars, including Woodrow Wilson scholar (Dr. Sylvanna Falcon 2014); and CV Raman scholar Dr Anurekha Chari Wagh (University of Hyderabad).  I have been recognitions for teaching and mentoring. Including the Sociology graduate students’ Best Mentor award three times (a record), the AAUP and the Connecticut State legislature recognition for teaching promise (2001), the UCONN Alumni teaching excellence award (2010) and the American Sociological Association-Asian American Section’s teaching excellence award (2009).  Last year, I was recognized by Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) with the 2018 Mentoring award.

Leadership and Service: I have held many leadership positions, in  International Sociological Association (ISA), American Sociological Association (ASA)the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP), and as President of Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) (2013-2014). Her editorial activities include work in Gender & Society, South Asian DiasporaSociology of Race & Ethnicity, and Frontpage Publications’ Human Rights series. I have served as an expert advisor for many international and state entities, including, most recently on WHO’s expert group on female migrants and health ( ).

Bandana Purkayastha
Contact Information
Phone860 486-3791
Curriculum Vitae bp-cv-6-19-
Office Location218 Manchester Hall