Bandana Purkayastha

Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Asian and Asian American Studies


Bandana Purkayastha is a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Asian & Asian American Studies at UConn, and serves as the Associate Dean for Social Sciences, Regional Campuses, and Community Engagement in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She is also Vice President of National Associations for the International Sociological Association (ISA).

She is an internationally recognized researcher, mentor, and leader in the field of sociology. Her co-edited book, “Human Rights in Our Own Backyard,” was awarded the 2013 Gordon Hirabayashi Sociology of Human Rights Book Award by the American Sociological Association (ASA) Human Rights section. In 2016, she received a Contribution to the Field career award from the ASA Asia and Asian American section. She was also a co-winner of the ASA’s 2019 Jessie Bernard Award, given in recognition of scholarly work, inclusive of research teaching, mentoring, and service, that has enlarged the horizons of sociology to encompass fully the role of women in society.

Purkayastha has held editorial positions with several high-profile journals, including Gender & Society, the Journal of  South Asian Diaspora,  Sociology of Race & Ethnicity, Qualitative Sociology, ISA-Current Sociology; as well as ISA’s Global Dialogue, and Frontpage Publications.  She has served as an expert advisor for many international and state entities, including the World Health Organization’s expert group on female migrants and health, as well as the United Nations (UN) International Organization of Migration and the UN Development Programme on forced migration.

Research Interests

  • Migration and migrants
  • Gender; Intersectionality
  • Transnationalism
  • Human rights and human security
  • Violence and peace
  • Knowledge Hierarchies

Current Scholarly Projects

  • An interdisciplinary, international project on methodologies and methods for studying pandemics and the impact on migrants, supported by a grant from the Social Science Research Council. Collaborators include Soma Chaudhuri (Michigan State University), Elizabeth Chacko (George Washington University), and other scholars in India and the U.S.
  • A co-edited handbook on Humanitarianism and Inequalities with Silke Roth (University of Southampton, UK) and Tobias Denskus (University of Malmo, Sweden).
  • Several peer reviewed journal articles on decolonial perspectives on migration, gendered impact of COVID on migration, racism against South Asian Americans, and inequalities in higher education.
  • A book on human rights praxis (under contract, Routledge) with Davita Silfen Glasberg and William Armaline.
  • A book on Water, Inequalities, and Rights (in preparation).
  • Public-focused podcasts and interviews based on the co-edited volume Feminist Autoethnographies of COVID-19 with Melanie Heath (McMaster University, Canada), Akosua Darkwah (University of Ghana), and Josephine Beoku-Betts (Florida Atlantic University).

Teaching and Mentoring

Dr. Purkayastha has earned the following recognitions for excellence in teaching and mentoring:

  • UConn Department of Sociology graduate students’ Best Mentor award (a record three times)
  • AAUP and the Connecticut State legislature’s recognition for teaching promise (2001)
  • UConn Alumni Association Teaching Excellence Award (2010)
  • ASA Section on Asia and Asian America’s Distinguished Teacher and Mentor Award (2009)
  • Sociologists for Women in Society’s Feminist Mentoring Award (2018).
  • South African S.H.E Foundation Women Who Inspire Award (2020)

Leadership and Service

Public Engagement

Recent media appearances include:


Contact Information
Phone860 486-3791
Curriculum Vitae b-purkayastha-cv-1-23-with-doi
Office Location218 Manchester Hall
Office HoursBy appointment (Online)