Srirupa Prasad received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005. Prior to joining the University of Missouri faculty she worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical History and Bioethics at University of Wisconsin at Madison. Her research interests include historical sociology, the sociology of medicine, globalization, social theory, and South Asian studies.
My research integrates theoretical and methodological perspectives of historical sociology, gender studies, and sociology of postcolonial societies. In particular, I analyze the relationship between health, culture, colonialism, modernity, and gender and investigate its socio-historical continuities and shifts in the context of India. At present I am engaged in three research projects through which I am investigating this relationship at two significant historical conjectures – one during colonialism and the other under the impact of globalization and neo-liberal capitalism.
I have analyzed the roles of 'hygiene' and 'public health' within the cultural formation of the late 19th and early 20th centuries colonial Bengal (India). My aim has been to show how the "domestic" became an important site as well as trope for the production and dissemination of medical knowledge and practices in colonial India. I show how discourses on health, which permeated ideologies and practices of colonialism and nationalism, were utilized by middle class Indians to create and perpetuate social identities around gender, class, caste, and religion.
In my second project I am studying one of the major health problems that India faces today - tuberculosis (TB). The social and cultural dimensions of TB are enormous. It is the leading killer of women in India today. It kills more women than all kinds of maternal mortality taken together. My concern in this project is to analyze intertwined issues of health and gender in the context of neo-liberal globalization and to investigate the colonial genealogies of discourses and practices of the non-governmental organizations, international funding agencies, and the Indian state, which are the key institutional actors in relation to care and cure for TB in India.
I am involved in a third project with Amit Prasad to study medical tourism, medical transcription, and drug testing in India. We are analyzing how these three transnational processes assign different identities to people, which very often translate to and are effects of unequal rights of different social groups in the context of neo-liberal globalization.
"Crisis, Identity, and Social Distinction: Cultural Politics of Food, Taste, and Consumption in Late Colonial Bengal", Journal of Historical Sociology, Vol. 19, No. 3, September 2006, pages 246-265.
"Healing the Social Body: Popular Journals and Women's Philanthropy in Early Twentieth Century Bengal" (Forthcoming, in a volume edited by Martha Selby).
"Gender, Hygiene, and Health in Bengal/India, 1885-1935", Wellcome History, Issue 28, Spring, 2005, pages 6-7.
"Work Family Relations in Transnational Perspective: A View from High-Tech Firms in India and the United States" (co-authored with Winifred Poster) in Social Problems, Vol. 52, No.1, 2005, pages 122-146.