Aparajita Basu is an Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Languages division of the School of Arts and Sciences. Her research is broadly focused on the intellectual and cultural history of the subcontinent in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In particular, she is interested in the internationalist and transnational dimensions of anticolonial political ideologies that emerged in this period, such as Pan-Asianism and diasporic nationalisms.
Her doctoral dissertation examines the contributions of Indian women’s rights reformers to discourses of Asian civilisational unity prevalent in the early twentieth century in India, often characterised contemporarily as ‘Asianism’. Using both vernacular and English language archival sources, she studies the ways in which a discursive engagement with an essentialised ‘East’ in Anglophone print media contributed to the creation of a uniquely inter-Asian ‘frame of reference’ for women’s issues in India, inviting comparison between the status of women’s rights in India and other Asian nations. She examines how the latter also formed the basis for on the ground exchanges about key women’s rights issues such as education, marriage and divorce.