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Simanti Dasgupta

Professor; Interim Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work


Email: Simanti Dasgupta
Phone: 937-229-2169


  • Ph.D., New School for Social Research, New York City, 2009
  • M.Phil., Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, 1997
  • M.A., Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, 1995
  • B.A. (Honors), Presidency College, University of Calcutta, 1993


Simanti Dasgupta is a professor of anthropology. Her overarching interest in the politics of citizenship and belonging in postcolonial and neoliberal nation-states link her works.

She is currently preparing a book manuscript tentatively titled, Prophylactic Rights: Sex Work, HIV/AIDS and Anti-Trafficking in Sonagachi, India, based on her ethnographic research with Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, a sex workers’ organization since 2011. She published this work in PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review; Anti-Trafficking Review, Open democracy: Beyond trafficking and slavery and The Conversation.

She previously authored BITS of Belonging: Information Technology, Water and Neoliberal Governance in India (Temple, 2015), which examined the emerging neoliberal politics in urban India at the intersection of Information Technology and water privatization. 

Academic honors

  • Liberal Arts Scholarship Catalyst Grant, University of Dayton, 2019-20.
  • Liberal Arts Scholarship Catalyst Grant, University of Dayton, 2018-19.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities Connections Planning Grant, Collaborator, 2018-19.
  • Fellow, Human Rights Center, University of Dayton, 2015-present.
  • Research Council SEED Grant, University of Dayton, June-August 2012 and June-August 2013, June-August 2014.
  • Peter McGrath Human Rights Fellowship, University of Dayton 2012-13.
  • National Science Foundation, Dissertation Improvement Grant, Science and Technology Studies Program, 2004-05.
  • American Institute of Indian Studies, University of Chicago, Junior Research Fellowship, 2004-05.

Selected publications


Dasgupta, Simanti. 2015. BITS of Belonging: Information Technology, Water and Neoliberal Governance India. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Dasgupta, Simanti. 2019. “Of Raids and Returns: Sex Work Movement, Police Oppression, and the Politics of the Ordinary in Sonagachi, India.” Anti-Trafficking Review, 12:127-39. Watch the GAATW video below.

Dasgupta, Simanti. 2017. “Contagious Contestations: Sex Work, Medicine, Law in Colonial and Postcolonial Sonagachhi.” In Subjects, Citizens and Law: Colonial and Postcolonial India edited by C. Gunnel and S. Dasgupta pp. 60-77. New Delhi and London: Routledge.

Dasgupta, Simanti. 2014. “Sovereign Silence: Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act and Sex Work in Sonagachhi.” PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, Vol. 37 (1):109–125.

Dasgupta, Simanti. 2012. “Rethinking Participation: Water, Development and Democracy in Neo-Liberal Bangalore.” Journal of South Asian Studies, 35 (3):520-545.

Dasgupta, Simanti. 2008. “Success, Market, Ethics: Information Technology and the Shifting Politics of Governance and Citizenship in the Indian Silicon Plateau.” Cultural Dynamics, 20 (3): 213-244.

Commentaries and Interviews

Dasgupta, Simanti. 2018. “Indian Bill to ‘protect’ trafficking victims will make sex workers less safe.” The Conversation.

Dasgupta, Simanti. 2018. “The Labor of ‘Risky’ Bodies: Sex Work, HIV/AIDS and the Politics of Well-being in Sonagachhi.” Anthropology News, Health and Well-Being Series.

Dasgupta, Simanti. 2016. Interview with Simanti Dasgupta, BITS of Belonging: Information Technology, Water and Neoliberal Governance in India”. New Books Network. Available at

Dasgupta, Simanti.2015. “Amnesty Proposal to Decriminalize Sex Work: Contents and Discontents” opendemocracy: free thinking for the world. Available at’s-proposal-to-decriminalise-sex-work-contents-and-discontents

Dasgupta, Simanti. 2014. “HIV/AIDS, policing sex work and public health in India: an interview with Simanti Dasgupta” Association for Political and Legal Anthropology, July 30 2014. Available at