Kalpana Iyer Mohanty is a doctoral candidate who entered in the Fall of 2019. She grew up in Portugal, Canada and India. Kalpana did her undergraduate degree in History at Barnard College of Columbia University, followed by an MPhil at Cambridge University as a Cambridge Trust Snowdon Scholar.
Her proposed PhD topic focuses on the history of disability in India, particularly during high colonialism. She plans on exploring the extent to which the stigma around physical disability was inherited from colonial Britain or whether much of it was indigenous to India. Her advisers at Harvard are Sunil Amrith, Sugata Bose and Maya Jasanoff.
Kalpana’s MPhil and undergraduate theses both focused on the intersection of empire with the domestic, with regards to the nuanced role of the British woman (memsahib) within Colonial India; was the memsahib wielded as a tool by British men to justify British imperialism or was she herself complicit in furthering the colonial agenda? Her project examined the period after the Indian Revolt of 1857 because of the increased tension and the greater presence of British women thereafter.
Her research interests include race gender and sexuality, colonialism and the history of the body.