Angana P. Chatterji

Angana with red scarf

Angana P. Chatterji


Angana P. Chatterji is Research Anthropologist and Founding Chair, Political Conflict, Gender and People’s Rights Initiative at the Center for Race and Gender at University of California, Berkeley, and her appointment is in the UC Professional Research Series at the “Full” Rank. (She was the Founding Co-chair of the precursor, Armed Conflict Resolution and People’s Rights Project at the Center for Social Sector Leadership, Haas School of Business, 2012-2015). She leads the creation of the Berkeley-Stanford Archive on Legacies of Conflict in South Asia. Dr. Chatterji is a cultural anthropologist and interdisciplinary scholar of South Asia. She is affiliated with the Institute for South Asia Studies at Berkeley, and since April 2017, she has been a Research Fellow at the Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Stanford University.

Chatterji’s research and writing focus on issues of political conflict and violence (as a category of analysis); majoritarian nationalism and minoritism; religion in the public sphere and religious freedom; state power; gender and caste oppression; racialization; and human rights, justice, and cultural survival. Rooted in local knowledge, her work is witness to post/colonial, decolonial conditions of grief, dispossession, agency, and affective solidarity. Chatterji’s recent scholarship focuses on political violence and coloniality in Kashmir; prejudicial citizenship in India, spotlighting Assam and the delimits of absolute nationalism; and everyday and premeditated violence agentized by Hindu nationalism, including in Haryana, Manipur, and Uttar Pradesh. Concurrently, her research also engages questions of “homeland,” belonging, and legacies of conflict across South Asia.

Previously, in Kashmir, Chatterji co-founded (2008), and was co-convener of (2008-2012), the People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice. In conjunction, she was a Member of the Drafting Committee on Minimum Standards, Second World Congress on Psychosocial Restitution in 2010. Her collaborative work investigating the unknown, unmarked, and mass graves of Kashmir called international attention to the need for accountability to the victims and families of the disappeared. In 2005, Chatterji founded the People’s Tribunal on Religious Freedom and Human Rights in Odisha premised on her research on Hindu nationalism there. In 2004, Chatterji served on a two-person independent commission on displacement and rehabilitation in the Narmada Valley. Chatterji participated in affective solidarity work following the pogroms targeting the Muslim community in Gujarat in 2002 and the Sikh community in Delhi in 1984.

Chatterji taught doctoral seminars in anthropology and philosophical foundations of education in 2013-2014 at the University of San Francisco’s School of Education as Adjunct Professor. Previously, Chatterji served on the faculty in the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where she co-created a graduate curriculum in postcolonial anthropology as Professor (2009-2011), Associate Professor (2000-2009), and Adjunct Professor (1997-2000). Between 1989-2002, Chatterji worked with the Indian Social Institute and Planning Commission of India, and as Director of Research at the Asia Forest Network, initially housed at the University of California, Berkeley.

Chatterji’s publications include: Books: BREAKING WORLDS: Religion, Law, and Nationalism in Majoritarian India; The Story of Assam (lead author, Monograph, Political Conflict Initiative, Center for Race and Gender, University of California, Berkeley, 2021); Majoritarian State: How Hindu Nationalism is Changing India (co-editor, U.S.: Oxford University Press, 2019, U.K.: Hurst, 2019, South Asia: Harper Collins, 2019); Conflicted Democracies and Gendered Violence: The Right to Heal; (lead editor, Zubaan, U. Chicago distribution, 2016); Contesting Nation: Gendered Violence in South Asia; Notes on the Postcolonial Present (co-editor, Zubaan, 2012, U. Chicago distribution, 2013); Kashmir: The Case for Freedom (co-contributor, Verso, 2011); Violent Gods: Hindu Nationalism in India’s Present; Narratives from Orissa (Three Essays Collective, 2009); reports: Access to Justice for Women: India’s Response to Sexual Violence in Conflict and Social Upheaval (co-author, 2015); BURIED EVIDENCE: Unknown, Unmarked, and Mass Graves in Kashmir(lead author, 2009), Communalism in Orissa (lead author, 2006), and Without Land or Livelihood (lead author, 2004); Community Forest Management in Arabari: Understanding Socioeconomic and Subsistence Issues(Monograph, 1996); and “Gendered Violence in South Asia: Nation and Community in the Postcolonial Present,” Cultural Dynamics: Theory Cross-Cultures (co-edited special double issue, 2004); and other books, numerous academic articles, book chapters, research briefs, reports, and opinion pieces.

Chatterji has served on the board of directors of International Rivers Network and Earth Island Institute, and the Advisory Board of the Kashmir Initiative at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Chatterji is a founding member of the South Asia Feminist Preconference at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Chatterji has served on human rights commissions and offered expert testimony, including at the United Nations, European Parliament, United Kingdom Parliament, and United States Congress and Commissions. Chatterji holds a B.A. in Political Science, an M.A. in Political Science, and a Ph.D. in the Humanities.

She has been variously acknowledged and awarded for her work. Following her expert testimony at the Hearing on Human Rights in South Asia at the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee On Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation in October 2019, she received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition in January 2020. In 2022, she was a Global Fellow at the Center for Law and Transformation, a collaboration between the Chr. Michelsen Institute and the University of Bergen, and a Distinguished Fellow at the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, during August-October. Between 2015-16, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University.

Opinion Pieces & Media (selected)