Angana P. Chatterji is Founding Co-chair, Political Conflict, Gender and People’s Rights Project and Visiting Research Anthropologist at the Center for Race and Gender at University of California, Berkeley. A cultural anthropologist, Professor Chatterji’s scholarly work spans issues of political conflict and gendered violence, majoritarian nationalism and minoritization, religion in the public sphere, and human rights, reparatory justice and cultural survival. Her scholarship bears witness to post/colonial, decolonial conditions of grief, dispossession and agency. Chatterji has undertaken research in over 250 villages and 36 urban areas and supervised research in over a thousand locations in India. Her work in Odisha and Kashmir and with Adivasi (tribal, indigenous peoples) and Dalit (erstwhile “untouchable” groups) communities has facilitated the creation of new archives, impacted policy and contributed to the democratization of knowledge. Born in 1966, Chatterji grew up in Kolkata, India. The immensity of structural injustices and prolific civil society resistance that she witnessed in her formative years profoundly impacted her, influencing life-decisions and commitments. In July 1984, Chatterji moved to Delhi to pursue higher education. Following the mass violence of November 1984 targeting the Sikh community of Delhi, Chatterji worked in the relief camps for victimized-survivors. This experience precipitated her commitment to research as a medium for social change through co-productions of knowledge that seek ethical engagement with victimized-survivors.
In 1989, Chatterji started work with women survivors of violence in the slums and "resettlement colonies" of Delhi. Between 1989-2002, Chatterji held research positions with the Indian Social Institute and the Planning Commission of India, worked with the Narmada Bachao Movement (Save the Narmada River) and as Director of Research at the Asia Forest Network, initially housed at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2004, Chatterji served on a two-person independent commission on displacement and rehabilitation in the Narmada Valley. In 2005, Chatterji convened a people’s tribunal in Odisha, calling attention to issues of religious freedom, gendered violence and human rights. In 2008, Chatterji co-founded the People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir. Her collaborative work investigating the unknown graves, including some mass graves, of Kashmir, called attention to the need for accountability to the victims and the families of the disappeared. The findings received full corroboration from the State Human Rights Commission of Jammu & Kashmir and significant international attention, resulting in the first-ever official admission of their existence. Chatterji has also worked with issues of religious and gendered violence in Gujarat. Chatterji was a Member of the Drafting Committee on Minimum Standards, Second World Congress on Psychosocial Restitution in 2010. Between 1997-2011, 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). Chatterji was Adjunct Professor during fall 2013-spring 2014 at the University of San Francisco’s School of Education. From September 2015 until August 2016, Chatterji was a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University.
Chatterji’s publications include: sole authored books: Violent Gods: Hindu Nationalism in India’s Present; Narratives from Orissa (Three Essays Collective, 2009); Land and Justice: The Struggle for Cultural Survival (forthcoming); co-contributed monograph for which she is lead editor: Conflicted Democracies and Gendered Violence: The Right to Heal; Internal Conflict and Social Upheaval in India (Zubaan and U. Chicago distribution, 2016); co-edited volume: Contesting Nation: Gendered Violence in South Asia; Notes on the Postcolonial Present (Zubaan, 2012 and U. Chicago distribution, 2013); co-contributed anthology: Kashmir (Verso, 2011); and reports for which she is lead author: BURIED EVIDENCE: Unknown, Unmarked and Mass Graves in Kashmir (2009), Communalism in Orissa (2006) and Without Land or Livelihood (2004).
Chatterji has served on human rights commissions and offered expert testimony at the United Nations, European Parliament, United Kingdom Parliament and United States Congress. Chatterji holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Political Science (1987), a Master of Arts in Political Science (1989) and a Doctor of Philosophy in the Humanities (1999). She is a founding-member of the South Asia Feminist Preconference at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.