Bandana Purkayastha

Professor of Socology and Asian and Asian American Studies

Bandana Purkayastha is Professor of Sociology and Asian & Asian American Studies.

My current research interests focus on gender and intersectionality, migration and migrants, transnationalism, human rights/human security, and violence and peace. My research, mentoring and leadership in the field has been recognized through many national awards.  The co-edited book (with William Armaline and Davota Silfen Glasberg) on human rights in the US, was awarded the Gordon Hirabayashi book award in 2013 by the Human Rights section of American Sociological Association (ASA). ASA/Asia and Asian American section recognized my work through the Contributions to the Field (career) award in 2016;  and UCONN College of Liberal Arts and Sciences conferred the Research Excellence for social science in 2019.   I was American Sociological Association’s 2019 Jessie Bernard award co-winner ( ) “in recognition of scholarly work, inclusive of research teaching, mentoring and service, that has enlarged the horizons of sociology to encompass fully the role of women in society.”

Current Scholarly Projects:  I am currently working on four main projects.  The first project, supported by an SSRC grant (2020-2022), is with Dr Soma Chaudhuri (Michigan State University), Dr Elizabeth Chacko (George Washington University), and an interdisciplinary, international team of scholars– sociologists, geographers, economists and historians from India and the US–on migrants and precarity during the current pandemic.  A second project, with Dr. Anjana Narayan (California State University Pomona), was funded by a Global Religion Research Initiative grant through Notre Dame, and convened scholars from the US, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, for a research study of highly educated women living Hinduism and Islam within contemporary local-national-transnational contexts.  A third project focuses on Water, Inequalities and Rights. In 2016-2017, I was in India, first as a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at JNU, India, and, later, at the University of Hyderabad, India, supported by a senior Fulbright Nehru professional excellence award, to gather data for this project.  A fourth project, funded by a combined UCONN Institutes grant, with Professor Marysol Asencio (Sociology & El Instituto, UCONN), is a Connecticut-focused study tracing how recent migrant groups have fared in one of the richest states of the US. 

I continue to write about migrants, human rights, human insecurity and attempt to dismantle knowledge hierarchies.  In 2019, I co-edited a collection on Indian transnationalism, with Ajaya Sahoo (2019), and co-authored  Human Trafficking: Trade for Sex, Labor and Organs (with Farhan Navid Yousaf.  I edited a special issue of Current Sociology on Migration, Migrants, and Human Rights (2018), and guest edited Feminisms and Gender in the Indian Diasporas for Economic and Political Weekly (EPW’s April 27, 2019 ). 

Teaching and Mentoring: I have been fortunate to get so many opportunities to work with a variety of graduate and undergraduate students.  A recent international effort of teaching beyond walls spearheaded at JNU, India, appears at  I have also worked with post–doctoral scholars, including Woodrow Wilson scholar (Dr. Sylvanna Falcon 2014); and CV Raman scholar Dr Anurekha Chari Wagh (University of Hyderabad).  I have been recognized for teaching and mentoring, including the Sociology graduate students’ Best Mentor award three times (a record), the AAUP and the Connecticut State legislature recognition for teaching promise (2001), the UCONN Alumni teaching excellence award (2010), the ASA-Asia and Asian American Section’s teaching excellence award (2009), and, Sociologists for Women in Society’s 2018 Mentoring award.  I was also nominated by South African sociologists, and was recognized through for the South African S.H.E Foundation—women who inspire–awards in 2020. 

Leadership and Service:

I have held many leadership positions in  International Sociological Association (ISA), including currently on the elected executive committee (2018-2022), American Sociological Association (ASA), the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP), and as President of Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) (2013-2014). I served as Head, Sociology, UCONN, from 2011-2016. 

My editorial activities include work with Gender & Society, Journal of South Asian Diaspora, Sociology of Race & Ethnicity, Qualitative Sociology, and Frontpage Publications.  I have served as an expert advisor for many international and state entities, including, most recently on WHO’s expert group on female migrants and health ( ).  


Contact Information
Phone(860) 486 – 3791
File bp cv 10-20
Office LocationManchester Hall, room 215