Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
PhD Candidate at The Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies (IHEID), Swiss National Science Foundation Doctoral Fellow, Swiss Government Excellence Scholar
Website URL
International History, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Human Rights, Minority Rights, Oral Histories, Social and Cultural History, Imperial History, Postcolonial Studies, British Colonial History, South Asian Studies
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Personal Info

About Me

Shriya Patnaik is a PhD researcher at the Department of International History and Politics, where her research has been supported by the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship, Swiss National Science Foundation Doc.Ch Fellowship, and the IHEID Community Scholarship. She has pursued her Bachelor’s in History from Cornell University (Magna cum Laude Honours) in 2014, and has subsequently pursued a Double Masters’ in International History with a focus on Gender Studies from the Columbia University-London School of Economics Dual Degree MA-MSc program (with a Distinction) in 2017. In her undergraduate years, she has been part of a Study Abroad Exchange program at Oxford University’s Mansfield College, where she undertook tutorials in History and Political Science. During her academic trajectory so far, she has been closely involved in conducting archival and qualitative research for various university’s data driven projects such as The Cornell Language Acquisition Lab, The Cornell Future of Minority Studies Project, LSE Women’s Library, and Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscripts Library. Besides her scholarly interests, she has also worked in the public policy and NGO sectors on gender and human rights projects across India, the United States and the United Kingdom, and these experiences have played a crucial role in shaping her research focus on women’s rights and minority rights initiatives at a transnational scale. In terms of her linguistic abilities, she is fully-proficient in English, Hindi and Oriya, has medium-proficiency in Sanskrit, and beginner-level proficiency in French. Shriya is also a PhD affiliate with the Geneva Graduate Institute’s Gender Centre and the Global Migration Centre.

Recent Publications
  1. Shriya Patnaik, “The Status of Sex-workers in India: Problematizing Prostitution Policies with Grassroots Modalities of Resistance from Civil Society.” Book Chapter in Catherine Phipps (eds) Global History of Sex Work (London: Routledge, 2024, forthcoming).
  2. Shriya Patnaik, “Mutating Modalities of Performative Culture and Social Regulation in Conceptualizing Alternative Histories of Tawaifs across Colonial and Postcolonial India.” Book Chapter in Anurima Banerji, Royona Mitra and Jasmine Johnson (eds) Oxford Handbook of Dance Praxis (New York: Oxford University Press, 2024, forthcoming).
  3. Shriya Patnaik, “Marginalizing the Matriarchal, Minority Subject: A Study of the Policing and Disenfranchisement of Performative, Matriarchal Communities in Colonial India.” Book Chapter in R. Srinivasan (eds) Borders: Physical, Social and Cultural (New Delhi: HOW Academics, 2023): pp. 111-141. ISSN 978-93-95522-94-6.
  4. Shriya Patnaik, “Exploring the Contested and Controversial Nature of the Sex Industry in India: Experiential Encounters by Sex-Workers from the Periphery.” Book Chapter in Abhiruchi Ojha and Pramod Jaiswal (eds) South Asian Women and International Relations (Singapore: Springer-Palgrave Macmillan, 2023):
  5. Shriya Patnaik, “Sex-workers Defying Patriarchy and Challenging State Reform and Rehabilitation Projects in India: Voices from the Margins.Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics Vol 7, Special Issue on Gender Activism in India, 7:1 (2023):
  6. Shriya Patnaik, “Marginalizing the Matriarchal, Minority Subject: A Critical Analysis of Human Rights and Women’s Reform Projects in Colonial and Postcolonial India through the Case-Study of the ‘Mahari-Devadasi’.” Electronic Journal of Social and Strategic Studies Vol 2, Special Issue 1 (2021). (DOI: 10.47362/EJSSS.2021.2105)
  7. Shriya Patnaik, “The Invisible Voices of India’s Informal Sector Sex Workers.” LSE South Asia Centre Blog (2021):
  8. Shriya Patnaik, “The Lost Life Stories of Mahari-Devadasis in Postcolonial India (1947-2015).” Borderlines (2021):
  9. Shriya Patnaik, “The Missing Life Stories of India’s Sex Workers.” Graduate Institute Gender Centre (2020):
  10. Swiss Network of International Studies Podcast (2021):
Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
Asia, British Isles, India, United Kingdom
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, Early Modern, Modern, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Emancipation, Gender, Human Rights, Labor, Law, Libraries & Archives, Local & Regional, Public History, Sexuality, Sexual Violence, Urban History, Women