Humanities+Urbanism+Design Junior Fellow for 2020-2021, Department of Landscape Architecture Stuart Weitzman School of Design, University of Pennsylvania

Syantani Chatterjee is an anthropologist specializing on questions of urban citizenship and belonging in India. Her book project, which builds on her dissertation, examines the social worlds of the residents of Shivaji Nagar (Mumbai), also known as “Bombay’s Gas Chamber.” She asks how an apparently odious, and potentially toxic place that appears to foreclose all possibilities other than failure, waste and death becomes an object of attachment for its residents. Her interest in exposure, and embodiment is reflected in her earlier field research among commercial gestational surrogates in India. In her award-winning Master’s Thesis at Columbia University, Caste in a New Mold: The rematerializing of caste in the biomedical universe of commercial surrogacy in India, she studied the emergence of new configurations of caste, and the endurance of earlier forms of the same in contemporary India, from within biomedical practices and discourses. Prior to pursuing doctoral studies, Chatterjee worked as a journalist for Reuters, the Associated Press and CNN.  Her scholarship has received generous support from the American Institute for Indian Studies, Columbia University’s Lindt Dissertation Fellowship, and other endowments. Her publications appear in the International Journal of Labor and Working Class History, and PoLAR.