M.Phil/Ph.D Thesis

PhD - Completed

Shilpa Phadke
Title: Constructing Sexuality in the New Spaces of Consumption: Middle Class Women in Mumbai (2011, Supervisor: Prof. Lakshmi Lingam, Co-supervisor: Prof. Anjali Monteiro)

Synopsis: The dissertation engages with the construction of sexuality new spaces of consumption focusing on malls and coffee-shops in Mumbai. Examining questions of class and modernity in shopping malls, the display of lingerie sold in these malls and public displays of heterosexual intimacy in coffee-shops, it argues that in these privatised global spaces a certain kind of heterosexuality compatible with the rise of a new middle class and the demands of a ‘global modernity’ is showcased as acceptable even desirable.

Benedict Varghese
Title: Rethinking Religion, Redefining Politics: Malayalam Cinema from the 1980s to 2000 and beyond (2012, Supervisor: Prof. K.P Jayshankar)
Synopsis: The present study is an attempt to look at the course of redefining the politics of Malayalam cinema over a period of thirty years, 1970s-90s. We consider Malayalam Cinema as a cultural product and a process shaped by time and space and various constituencies like religion, race, ethnicity and gender and sexuality having different levels of stakes in articulating and rearticulating the politics of this product and process. We acknowledge these various constituencies, but we focus only on one, namely religion, and through a multi-layered methodology we plan to study the two-fold processes happening in Malayalam Cinema–rethinking religion and redefining politics.

Madhura Datta
Title: Application of theatre for social change: A bottom-up approach (2016, Supervisor: Prof. Anjali Monteiro)
Synopsis: This study critically examines the work of two organizations in West Bengal, working with ‘Theatre for Development’ and ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’, and analyzes how they apply theatre as a tool for social development for securing community rights through community actions. The study will try to explore how theatre has been used for social change and development and for liberating the oppressed in the highly political setting of West Bengal and identify how the different forms converge and shift from the theories and existing studies. The study will also try to identify factors that work to make theatre effective for bringing about social change.

Bidu Bhushan Das
Title: Media for Empowerment: A Study of Community Radio Initiatives in Bundelkhand (2016, Supervisor: Prof. K.P Jayshankar)
Synopsis: Community radio in India has witnessed a series of developments such as the Supreme Court’s judgment on airwaves, the Bangalore Declaration on Radio, Pastapur Initiative on Community Radio and a bill passed by the Union Cabinet. Some pertinent questions in the context of the nascent community radio movement in India are: Firstly, what is the structure and function of a community radio station (CRS) broadly? What is the relationship between the community, CRS and its management? How is it sustained? Secondly, what is the content developed by the CRS broadly? In particular, how is content developed? Who chooses the content? What is the power dynamics involved in developing the content? Thirdly, how does it help in the process of negotiation and empowerment? How do community audiences perceive it? To address some of these three broad questions, the proposed study will take up textual analysis and audience reception.

Madhavi Manchi
Title: Media Technologies and Collective Memory: A Case Study of Deccan Development Society, Andhra Pradesh (2016, Supervisor: Prof. K.P Jayshankar)
Synopsis: This thesis aims to look at the co-evolution of media technologies and collective cultural memory. This study would use ideas and concepts from Media and Cultural Studies, as well as Cybercultures and Anthropology for building its theoretical and methodological frameworks and tools. In particular, it would use the concept of mediation of memories and Van Dijck’s concept of mediated memories to address the above. This study plans to explore this by taking for its case-study, an alternative developmental project called Deccan Development Society, based out of Medak district, Andhra Pradesh; specifically looking into the work of its Community Media Team.

Sudha Venkataswamy
Title: Growing Digital: Social and cultural implications of internet on school going children and early adolescents in Tamil Nadu (2017, Supervisor: Prof. Anjali Monteiro)
Synopsis: In the context of wide internet usage among children in India within the past decade, this study aims to understand what these changes mean for children and their families for their education, leisure participation and community. How and why children and adolescents use the medium is a crucial research question to address. This qualitative study will look at both urban and rural students in Tamil Nadu.

Ketaki Chowkhani

Title: Adolescents and Sexuality Education in Contemporary Urban India (2017, Supervisor: Dr. Shilpa Phadke

Synopsis: This dissertation examines the limits of sexuality education by a) examining State, feminist, Christian and sexological materials on sexuality education in Mumbai, b) by exploring adolescent male romance and its affective registers, c) by examining adolescent male sexual knowledge and d) by understanding the regulation of romance in school spaces.  The research is located at the intersection of sexuality studies, education, masculinity studies and cultural studies. With masculinity studies beginning to contribute to our understanding of gender relations, I bring the question of masculinity to bear upon that of sexuality education.  While the dissertation deals centrally with sexuality education, it does not directly address schools. Rather, it locates sexuality education in Mumbai within the complex web of the middle classes, consumerism, postfeminism, romance, adolescent masculinities and cinema.

 Ranu Tomar

Title: Understanding Women Journalists Experiences working in Hindi Print Media in Madhya Pradesh (2017, Supervisor: Dr. Shilpa Phadke)

Synopsis: This dissertation examines the lived experiences of women journalists in four cities of Madhya Pradesh: Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur and Gwalior. This research attempts to understand gendered hierarchies existing in Hindi journalism and its workplace. It also elucidates women journalists negotiations with varied hierarchies and power relations in the male-dominated profession of journalism. The study also focuses attention on women's economic independence and the ways in which this influences their choices within capitalist patriarchy. Engaging with the ways in which women journalists negotiate their personal lives and dual-responsibility performing roles in domestic spaces, this study unravels how working women are disqualified by patriarchal social norms and institutions like marriage, motherhood. This research analyses the sexist nature of journalistic workplace acknowledging incidents of sexual harassment at physical and virtual spaces displaying misogyny in the profession.

Padma Bhate-Deosthali 

Title: Understanding Gendered Patterns of Burn Injuries: A Study of Response of Hospitals In Mumbai (2017, Supervisor: Prof. Lakshmi Lingam)

Synopsis: The dissertation explores the phenomenon of burns from a public health perspective; additionally, given the overwhelming association of this injury/death with one gender, namely women, the dissertation also examines how far public health research in India is informed from a gender perspective. The study makes an important contribution through informing the Haddon Matrix used for Burns Prevention (WHO, 2011) which identifies kitchen accidents as an outcome of constrained cooking space or hazards endemic to cooking. The findings underscore the need to focus on socio-cultural problems versus non-human agents/hazards thus making a critical contribution to the field of burns prevention.

 Charu Gargi
Title:The Indian Women’s Movement and Mainstream Hindi Cinema from 1980- to the Present (2018, Supervisor: Prof. Anjali Monteiro)
Synopsis: This thesis is situated at the intersection between the IWM and the mainstream film industry. The attempt is to negotiate and reread existing representations, to reveal cultural interruptions at this juncture and move towards generating newer representations, constructing a feminist praxis and creating a history of mainstream Hindi cinema from a feminist perspective. Locating the dissertation within the political climate of the last few decades, women’s experiences of violence and their cinematic representations are debated in this work.

Rajalakshmi Ram Prakash

Title: Gender Analysis of Publicly Funded Health Insurance Schemes - A Study of Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme of Tamil Nadu (2018, Supervisor: Prof. Lakshmi Lingam)

Synopsis: The study involved a mixed methods design involving secondary data (Tamil Nadu Central sample of NSSO 71st Round (3917 households), official data on the CMCHIS scheme on empanelment of hospitals, enrollment, and claims (totaling 924362) as well as primary data (survey of 1176 households, 47 in-depth interviews)  collected from one urban and one rural low-income location in two districts of Tamil Nadu. The study found barriers at every level of the pathway in utilizing the scheme benefits ultimately culminating in ineffective and inequitable financial protection. A key contribution of the study was in unearthing the perversions caused by insurance based market mechanisms in public healthcare systems. The CMCHIS policy was found to gender blind than neutral accentuating or imposing new forms of barriers to women’s access to healthcare.  The study called for addressing social determinants of health, strengthening health systems based on a right to health approach which will ensure gender and health equity.

Faiz Ullah

Title: News of Work and the Work of News: Media and Labour Action in Delhi NCR (2022, Supervisor: Prof. K P Jayshankar)

The study explores the changes sweeping through the realms of work in the manufacturing sector, more specifically automobiles, that saw some of the most dramatic instances of labour action in recent history, as well the news media that are facing a widespread credibility crisis. The latter realm of work was studied not just for being any other sector of business but because of their immense capacity for cultural production through which they help the people – audiences and citizens – make sense of the various events and phenomena that have significant bearings on their lives. The study also presents an account of the workers’ initiatives to mobilise opinion and support in their favour through a combination of offline and online strategies mediated through digital and online media. While such initiatives did not help the workers meet their objectives they point toward the possibilities of how such initiatives can enliven and revitalise the larger labour movement if used comprehensively.


PhD - In Progress

Nasimuddin Khan

Title: Gender and Constructions of Masculinity: An Ethnographic Study in Rural Bihar (In Progress, Supervisor: Prof. Lakshmi Lingam)

Synopsis: There is a widespread prevalence of violence against women committed by men. Such behaviour of male dysfunction always has a context. Examples of such external factors might include hyper-violent masculinity that is reflected in one’s culture; the crisis of sexuality; education and unemployment; distress migration; and commodification of women as sexual objects. Although a large number of cases of violence are committed by men, this phenomenon has still been neglected from research enquiry. Thus, the purpose of this research thesis is to explore constructions of masculine identity by men in gender relations.

An ethnographic study is being conducted in Tetaria village of Siwan district of Bihar as it represents multi-caste single village where domestic violence is rampant.

 Vanitha Kommu

Title: Adaptation to Climate Change by Small and Marginal Farmers: Study of the Role of Farmer Collectives (In Progress, Supervisor: Prof. Lakshmi Lingam)

Synopsis: The impacts of changing climate on agriculture are being witnessed all over the world, but countries like India are more vulnerable in view of the large population of small and marginal farmers. Majority of these farmers live in rainfed areas and are highly vulnerable.  Adapting to climate change especially by poor farmers is one of the key factors for sustainable agriculture and food security. Adaptation can reduce vulnerability by making rural communities better able to adjust to climate change. Indian farmers, especially the women farmers face several barriers in adapting to climate change. Adaptation is a dynamic social process - the ability of societies to adapt is determined, in part, by the ability to act collectively. The purpose of the study is to understand the role of farmer’s collectives in addressing the barriers and improving adaptive capacities. The study is planned in a highly vulnerable rain fed district (Kurnool) in Andhra Pradesh where majority of farming communities belong to small and marginal categories.

Shivani Satija

Title: Negotiating Gender Identities in Online Space: An Analysis through Subversive Narratives (In progress, Supervisor: Dr. Shilpa Phadke)

Synopsis: The broad objective of this dissertation is to understand subversive bodily acts in online spaces and the counter discourses that emerge in these spaces, in the Indian context. In other words, this dissertation wants to explore ways in which counter narratives of gender and bodies are articulated through these subversive bodily performances in online space. In what ways do these embodied knowledges challenge hegemonic and heteronormative narratives that are deeply embedded, reiterated and perpetuated in online space. It will also explore how these subversive practices place these online users amidst vulnerabilities to violence and censorship and how users resist, negotiate and cope with these. Finally, this dissertation attempts to explore ways in which these subversive articulations and counter discourses politicise online space and help rewrite hegemonic understandings of gender, bodies and online technolgies.


Noopur Desai

Title: Negotiating the notion of Public Space: Contemporary Art in Public Spaces – A case study of Bombay/Mumbai (In progress, Supervisor: Dr. Shilpa Phadke)

Synopsis: The project aims to examine the multifarious notion of public space and how it has constituted the contemporary art discourse in Mumbai since 1990s. By studying three case studies (Kalaghoda Festival, Dharavi Biennale and Bhau Daji Lad Museum) as an investigative frame to examine the present day constitution of spatial practice, the research aims to examine the correlation between art and public space and to understand how multiple diverse cultural forms in public space coexist, conflict and continue to shape the art discourse. The objective is to consider how art addresses different publics, the nature of public participation and collaborative production, approaching a critical analysis of space, and finally the role of the exhibition-making and spectatorship in the context of the cultural and economic shifting modalities post globalization. 

Swapnil Kamble

Title: Digital Communication Cultures: A Case Study of Mobile Phone and Internet Usage Among Youth in Pune City (In progress, Supervisor: Dr. Shilpa Phadke).

Synopsis: Digital Communication technology has become central to contemporary society and culture and the mobile phone does so much more than calling and texting.  This association with digital technology has altered the way of social, political and cultural aspects of communication. This research will explore the general usage of mobile internet by young adults from Pune city. This study is focuses on internet based communication, and changes in social communication, relationships, identities, and desires related to cyber/ digital spaces.

Raka Banerjee
Title: Gender, Migration and Settlement –Making of a Gendered Settler Identity in the Andaman Islands (In Progress, Supervisor: Prof. Anjali Monteiro)
Synopsis: The research is geared to understand the intermeshing of gender, migration and settlement in the case of the Bengali Hindu refugee women of India’s Eastern Partition (1947) settled through schemes of ‘colonisation and rehabilitation’ in the Andaman Islands. As secondary recipients of rehabilitation in a space with both historic and contemporary geo-political significance, the female settlers articulate their ‘settler’ identity in a very distinct manner from the figure of the ‘refugee woman’ that dominates Partition discourse. The research seeks to explore these settler women’s subjectivity, viz-a-viz, the paternalistic rehabilitation mechanism.

Simona Sarma

Title: Item Songs and their Audiences: An Exploration of Listener's Perspectives (In Progress, Supervisor: Prof. Anjali Monteiro)

Synopsis: This study aims to look at the spectatorial engagement with item songs and its gendered consequences.

Preethi Ayyalusamy

(In Progress, Supervisor: Prof. Anjali Monteiro)

Synopsis: The doctoral dissertation is a historical study of women’s crime and punishment in colonial India along with colonial state formation. The study attempts to map the penal transportation of women convicts from Bombay presidency to the British penal settlements in the Indian Ocean, especially to the Andaman Penal settlement.

Abu Mounir

Title: Voices of Dissent: Little Magazines and Marxist Movements in West Bengal (In Progress, Supervisor: Prof. Anjali Monteiro)

Synopsis: The aim of this research is to study in depth the nature and role of little magazines in West Bengal as voices of dissent, particularly in the context of the Naxalbari uprising in the late sixties and early seventies. In the process the researcher would attempt to analyze the counter-hegemonic role of little magazines in literature, culture and politics in Bengal and ascertain why even in the digital age, little magazines continue to thrive in large numbers.



Title: The life of an art and the art of life: Patuas in the contemporary world (In Progress, Supervisor: Prof. Anjali Monteiro)

Synopsis: The study is based on the Patachitra community of West Bengal. The study gives a thick description of the traditional art process in the contemporary times, more so it explores the struggles and the survival of the art amidst the complexities of  the current changing political economy.


Nadira Khatun

Title: Electronic Media and Public Issues: A Study of Mediation (2010, Supervisor, Prof. Anjali Monteiro)
Synopsis: This research project is an inquiry into the role of television programming and internet campaigns relating to civil society issues. It attempts to theorise how such programmes play or might play an important role in either forging or mediating the formation of civil society. The researcher focused on the electronic media and their role in relation to civil society issues, to explore their potential in the formation and expansion of civil society. The attempt was to explore the consequent implications of these programmes and internet campaigns in creating a space for dialogue and debate, thus promoting the growth of civil society.

Maheswata Das
Title: Cyberactivism: A Study of Changing Modes of Protest (2011, Supervisor, Prof. Anjali Monteiro)
Synopsis: This thesis deals with the perceptions of people who participate in online campaigns, whether as initiators or members and their opinions about how it influences the sustainability of democratic spaces of protest and dissent within the country and beyond. It becomes essential to understand how people engage themselves in online campaigns; how actively they are participating in the campaign and what they do to make it a success. In the age of internet, campaigns are initiated by people of all age groups. Even though the generation of youth is the one which often initiates these campaigns and raise its voice to get empowered, there are also people of other age groups who actively participate in these campaigns. This study also tries to understand the ways in which people of various age groups relate to cyberactivism.

Ashwini Falnikar
Title: Virtually Real: An Exploration of Spatiality, Identity and Affectivity through Indian Women’s Blogs (2013, Supervisor, Prof. Anjali Monteiro)
Synopsis: This thesis explores women’s engagements with the Internet. It locates the enquiry in Indian women’s blogging practices, and seeks to understand the political implications of the intimate relationship between technology and subjects. Through qualitative analysis of blogs, and in-depth interviews with bloggers, the dissertation seeks to understand ‘women’s experience’ of engaging with the Internet. The thesis attempts to bring out the nuances of the dynamics between the virtual world and real life in three domains: spaces, identities and affective networks, all of which are marked by social constructs that are constraining for women. It demonstrates the ways in which women could and are claiming technology to bring about changes in their life and in their immediate environments. 

Pallavi Jha

Title: Representation of Women in Hindi Cinema: An Analysis of Item Songs (2013, Supervisor: Dr. Shilpa Phadke)

Synopsis: The dissertation interrogates the representation of women in Hindi cinema though an analysis of item songs. It engages with the sexual economies of popular Hindi film focusing on the location of songs and more particularly the Item Songs. It engages with debates on censorship and obscenity as well as reflects on two specific films to makes it case.

Johann Salazar

Title: User Generated Content on the Internet: Experiences of Bloggers from Mumbai (2014, Supervisor: Prof. K.P Jayshankar)

Synopsis: This exploratory study uses qualitative methods to understand the motivations of bloggers to create online content. It seeks to understand how these individuals derive reward for their work – particularly in the absence of monetary gains and answers the question: What do they get or expect to get out of it? It also explores their engagement with copyrights.


Swapnil Kamble

Title: Mobile Communication Cultures: A Study of Panshet Village in Maharashtra (2015, Supervisor: Dr. Shilpa Phadke) 

Synopsis: Mobile phones are playing very decisive and inimitable roles in everyday life of common people. The popularity and active usage of mobile phones as a multimedia device is intense among youth. Every young hand is now busy on the ‘touch screens’ in rural and urban India. ​The research focuses on the changing nature of communication due to advent of new communication technology like Mobile Phone and its impact on village youth and changing sociability.  The study explores the effects on sociability and communication among young people in a village in Maharashtra.


Simona Sarma
Title: Women, Music and Identity: A Study of Goalporiya Folk Music (2018, Supervisor, Prof. Anjali Monteiro)
Synopsis: This dissertation explores how Goalpariya folk music, a somewhat marginalised form within the space of Assam is deployed to affirm and negotiate the power structures of gender, location, and community. The research contextualises the Goalpariya Lokageet within the space of Goalpara, thus enabling a critical reflection on the connections between space/place and culture and the politics associated with this connection, specifically the politics of “authenticity”.  The competing claims to representing and owning the folk tradition are enmeshed in issues of language and identity that relate to the ambiguities surrounding the Koch Rajabanshi community and the liminality of Goalpara within Assam. The other major theme that the study deals with is ways in which gendered relations of power and resistance get articulated with the folk tradition. The thesis also attempts to understand the ways in which the tradition has been transformed in the contemporary context, in the wake of globalisation, digitisation and the Internet.

Akanksha Jain
Title: Independent and Online: The Role of the Internet as an Alternative Production and Exhibition Platform for Short Films in India (2018, Supervisor, Prof. Anjali Monteiro)
Synopsis: This research attempts to study the available online practices for the production and exhibition of short films for independent filmmakers. A qualitative social constructivist interpretative approach is applied to study the phenomenon of online short films in India through the lens of independent filmmakers who are engaging in these online practices. A case study of films selected through purposive non-random sampling was conducted while filmmakers selected through snowball sampling were interviewed. To create a complete pictures, multiple interviews of other shareholders including online aggregators and exhibition platforms were also conducted.  Based on the interviews, the researcher then analysed online production and exhibition practices available and censorship of films, while drawing a comparison with the traditional setup for funding, distribution and exhibition of films.

Sukrity Gogoi
Title: Politics of Performance: A Study of Spoken Word Poetry in Mumbai
(In Progress, Supervisor, Prof. Anjali Monteiro)
Synopsis: Exploring the question of representation on the performance stage with a focus on the gendered production of spoken word poetry during live events and in the digital space.