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Prof. dr. B. (Barnita) Bagchi

Faculty of Humanities
Capaciteitsgroep Engelse taal en cultuur

Visiting address
  • Spuistraat 134
Postal address
  • Postbus 1641
    1000 BP Amsterdam
  • Profile
  • Barnita Bagchi

    Barnita Bagchi (she, her) is Chair and Professor in World Literatures in English at the University of Amsterdam. Educated at Jadavpur, Oxford, and Cambridge universities, she is a Life Member and former Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, a graduate college and centre for advanced studies at University of Cambridge. She comes to the University of Amsterdam from Utrecht University, where she was Associate Professor in Comparative Literature. 

    ORCID offers a list of Barnita Bagchi's publications.

    University Teaching and Research Qualifications

    2017   Senior Qualification in Teaching (Seniorkwalificatie Onderwijs) awarded by Utrecht University, valid across all Dutch universities

    2017    Senior Qualification in Research (Seniorkwalificatie Onderzoek), awarded by Utrecht University, valid across all Dutch universities

    2019    University Qualification in English-Medium Instruction (Basiskwalificatie Engelstaligheid), awarded by Utrecht University, valid across all Dutch universities

    2010    University Teaching Qualification (Basiskwalificatie Onderwijs), awarded by Utrecht University, valid across all Dutch universities


    Barnita teaches across BA, MA, and RMA programmes, with courses that have focused on fictions of formation and education, modern South Asian literature and culture, speculative, utopian, and dystopian fiction, postcolonial and transcultural literatures, and situated cosmopolitanism in literatures. She supervises theses at all levels.


    She is considered an international authority on women's writing and the cultural history of women's education and on utopian studies, in transnational and transcultural perspective, with South Asia and Western Europe as nodes. Her academic work has been awarded prestigious grants and fellowships, inter alia by Jadavpur University in India, the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung in Germany, Heidelberg University in Germany, the Maison des Sciences de l' Homme in France, CNRS in France, York University in Canada, Trinity College, Cambridge, University of Cambridge, University of Winchester, Lancaster University, and the British Academy in the UK. She has offered Keynote Lectures at prestigious international conferences at the universities of Helsinki, Geneva, and  Winchester, among others.

    She is a member of the Board of the Stichting Praemium Erasmianum, which awards the Erasmus Prize, the Netherlands' foremost prize for social and humanistic thought, and which also awards the Research Prizes to some of the best Ph.Ds in the humanities, social sciences, and law, that are awarded by Dutch universities. She is a member of the Utopian Studies Society committee. She is a member of the Steering Group of the Mensenrechtencoalitie Utrecht, the Human Rights Coalition Utrecht. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the journal Utopian Studies.

     Her academic work on the South Asian Bengali Muslim writer Rokeya S. Hossain's female and feminist utopias (articles, book chapters, and a Penguin Classics India critical edition and part-translation of two of Hossain's narratives) is widely used in courses globally. In August 2022, Penguin Random House USA published a fresh edition of Bagchi's part-translation, which was in the NY Times List of 6 new paperbacks to look out for:

    She was a holder of a British Academy Visiting Fellowship at Lancaster University, UK.

    She initiated and edited a Special Collection on 'Utopian Art and Literature from Modern India' for the Open Library of the Humanities: This has articles by Barnita Bagchi, Anne Castaing (CNRS, France), Sanghita Sen (St. Andrews University, Scotland), Supriya Chaudhuri (Jadavpur University, India), and Sukla Chatterjee (University of Bremen, Germany).

    After having initiated and edited/ coedited, inter alia, two volumes, The Politics of the (Im)Possible: Utopia and Dystopia Reconsidered (SAGE, 2012), and Connecting Histories of Education: Transnational and Cross-Cultural Exchanges in (Post)Colonial Education (Berghahn, 2014), which are standard and widely cited references in transnational and postcolonial history and in utopian studies respectively, she has edited and published an Open Access volume on Urban Utopias: Memory, Rights and Speculation. The volume has contributions by scholars from UU, Jadavpur University, University of California Los Angeles, University of Amsterdam, University of Cambridge, Leiden University, and the Municipality of Utrecht. Jadavpur University Press, india has published this.

    She has guest-edited a Special Issue of the journal Utopian Studies, vol. 33 no.2, subtitled "The Prospective Memory of the Future," which appeared in summer 2022, that brings together her own research, that of collaborating colleagues, and articles from the global utopian studies scholarly community. This is the key outcome of her British Academy Visiting Fellowship at Lancaster University.

    Valorisation of academic knowledge 

    She appeared on the documentary Kalpavigyan, on science fiction from Bengal, produced by Cofutures, University of Oslo. One can watch the film at

    She coinitiated a series of events on Human Rights and Education convened by the Human Rights Coalition in Utrecht.

    On 21 May 2021, she organized a mini-symposium on Culture, Rights, and Social Dreaming,

    On 17 September, 2019, she appeared, at the invitation of the Groene Amsterdammer, in a panel discussion in Dutch on Het Nieuwe Feminisme & Literatuur: Wat kunnen moderne feministen leren van literaire klassiekers?", The New Feminism and Literature: What can Feminists Learn from Literary Classics?

    On 15 May, 2019, she organized a workshop on Human Rights and Social Dreaming in the City: What Feminists from Java, India, and the Netherlands Can Teach Us about Utrecht Today.

    Book Reviews

    Bagchi has since 2002 been a regular reviewer of books, in India for The StatesmanThe Book Review IndiaIndian Journal of Gender StudiesThe Telegraph Calcutta, and Economic and Political Weekly, and in recent and current times for journals such as Paedagogica HistoricaHistory of Education,  American Historical ReviewUtopian StudiesHistory of Humanities, the International Institute of Asian Studies Leiden NewsletterThe Beacon, and the Journal of Postcolonial Writing.


  • Photo, by Kirsten van Santen
  • Publications


    • Bagchi, B. (in press). Mixing Memory and Desire: Considerations on Utopia, Partition, and Bengali Women’s Writing and Activism. In S. Basu, & S. Banerjee (Eds.), Partition, Belonging and the Birth of Bangladesh Routledge.
    • Bagchi, B. (in press). Resonances and Influences of Pride and Prejudice in India: The Marriage Plot in Colonial and Postcolonial Indian Fiction. In T. Connolly, & K. Ogawa (Eds.), Austen in Asia Palgrave Macmillan.


    • Bagchi, B. (2023). Olive Schreiner and C. F. Andrews: Utopia and Paths to Anti-Racism and Decolonisation. In A. Van der Vlies, & J. Munslow Ong (Eds.), Olive Schreiner: Writing Networks and Global Contexts (pp. 85-98). University of Edinburgh.
    • Bagchi, B. (2023). Review of Suparno Banerjee. Indian Science Fiction: Patterns, History and Hybridity. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2020. Utopian Studies. Journal of The Society for Utopian Studies, 34(3), 586-590.




    • Bagchi, B. (2019). Analyzing Toru Dutt’s Oeuvre Today: How a Transnational Literary-Educational Case from Colonial India Can Enrich Our Conception of Transnational History. In Global Histories of Education (pp. 179-199). (Global Histories of Education). Palgrave Macmillan.
    • Bagchi, B. (2019). Satinath Bhaduri's Bengali Novels Jagari (The Vigil) and Dhorai Charit Manas as Utopian literature. Open Library of Humanities, 5(1).
    • Bagchi, B. (2019). Utopia. In Critical Terms in Futures Studies (pp. 327-333). Palgrave Macmillan.



    • Bagchi, B. (2016). Crooked lines: utopia, human rights and South Asian women's writing and agency. Australian Journal of Human Rights, 22(2), 103-122.
    • Bagchi, B. (2016). Many Modernities and Utopia: From Thomas More to South Asian Utopian Writings. In P. Guerra (Ed.), Utopía: 500 años (pp. 195-220). Ediciones Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia.
    • Bagchi, B. (2016). Rabindranath Tagore, Utopia, and Cosmopolitanism: Some Considerations. In S. Datta, & S. Dasgupta (Eds.), Tagore: The World As His Nest (pp. 61-73). Jadavpur University Press.
    • Bagchi, B. (2016). Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain: Padmarag. The literary encyclopedia.


    • Bagchi, B. (2015). Utopian and dystopian literature: A review article of new work by fokkema; prakash; gordin, tilley, prakash; and meisig. CLCWeb - Comparative Literature and Culture, 17(2).
    • Bagchi, B. (2015). “Because novels are true, and histories are false”: Indian women writing fiction in english, 1860–1918. In A History of the Indian Novel in English (pp. 59-72). Cambridge University Press.


    • Bagchi, B. (2014). Connected and entangled histories: writing histories of education in the Indian context. Paedagogica Historica, 50(6), 813-821.
    • Bagchi, B. (2014). Connecting literature and history of education: Analysing the educative fiction of Jean Webster and Lila Majumdar transculturally and connotatively. In Connecting Histories of Education: Transnational and Cross-Cultural Exchanges in (Post)Colonial Education (pp. 213-226). Berghahn Books.
    • Bagchi, B. (2014). ‘The Ironies of Bollywood’: Layered Fictions and Histories of Bombay Films in Filming and 'Cinema City'. In O. P. Dwivedi, & C. Gamez-Fernandez (Eds.), Tabish Khair: Critical Perspectives (pp. 87-97). Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
    • Bagchi, B., Fuchs, E., & Rousmaniere, K. (2014). Connecting histories of education: Transnational and cross-cultural exchanges in (post)colonial education. Berghahn Books.



    • Bagchi, B. (2012). The Politics of the (Im)possible: Utopia and Dystopia Reconsidered. SAGE.
    • Bagchi, B. (2012). Ladylands and Sacrificial Holes: Utopias and Dystopias in Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain's writings. In The Politics of the (Im)possible: Utopia and Dystopia Reconsidered (pp. 166-178). SAGE.
    • Bagchi, B. (2012). Writing Educational Spaces in Twentieth-Century Reformist Indian Discourse. HSE – Historia Social y de la Educación , 1(1).


    • Bagchi, B. (2011). Between History, Fiction, and Biography: Narrating Migration, War, and Intercultural Relationships in Vikram Seth's 'Two Lives'. Journal of Postcolonial Cultures and Societies, 101-110.
    • Bagchi, B. (2011). Créer, jouer, et agir: Rabindranath Tagore et l’action politique. In M-C. Caloz-Tschopp (Ed.), Penser Pour Résister: Colère, Courage, et Création Politique (pp. 181-189). L'Harmattan.
    • Bagchi, B. (2011). La capacité d’agir des femmes dans la sphère publique en Asie du Sud: vers une histoire, des politiques et une poétique connotatives. In Politique, esthétique, féminisme. Les formes du politique, les ruses de la domination et le sens des luttes féministes. In I. Lacoue-Labarthe , & F. Sow (Eds.), Tumultes: Politique, esthétique, féminisme Mélanges en l’honneur de Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun (pp. 65-79). Editions Kime.


    • Bagchi, B. (2010). Ramabai and Rokeya: The history of gendered social capital in India. In J. Spence, S. J. Aiston, & M. M. Meikle (Eds.), Women Education and Agency 1600-2000 (pp. 66-82). (Routledge Research in Gender and History; Vol. 9). Routledge.
    • Bagchi, B. (2010). Two Lives: Voices, resources, and networks in the history of female education in Bengal and South Asia. Women's History Review, 19(1), 51-69.


    • Bagchi, B. (2009). Carrying Over: Analysing Female Utopias and Narratives of Female Education Cross-culturally and Cross-historically. In M. Sanyal, & A. Ghosh (Eds.), Culture, Development, and Society in India (pp. 43-59). Orient Blackswan.
    • Bagchi, B. (2009). Cheery children, Growing Girls, and Developing Young Adults: On Reading, Growing, and Hopscotching across Categories. In R. B. Chatterjee, & N. Gupta (Eds.), Reading Children (pp. 163-181). Orient Blackswan.
    • Bagchi, B. (2009). Education, Women’s Narratives, and Feminist Civil Society Activism: Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s Feminist Utopias. In D. Sylvette (Ed.), Utopies Féministes et Experiments Sociales Urbaines (pp. 109-116). Presses Universitaires de Rennes.
    • Bagchi, B. (2009). Towards ladyland: Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain and the movement for women’s education in Bengal, c. 1900–c. 1932. Paedagogica Historica, 45(6), 743-755.
    • Bagchi, B. (2009). Voilà la femme forte: The Unusual Education of Mary Anne Schimmelpenninck. In M. Sarkar (Ed.), Moneta's Veil: Essays on the Nineteenth Century (pp. 34-50). Pearson.


    • Bagchi, B. (2008). Hannah Arendt, Education, and Liberation: A Comparative South Asian Feminist Perspective. Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative Politics.
    • Bagchi, B. (2008). L’Education, l’Action, et la Désobéissance Civile: Trois Femmes Écrivaines Indiennes en Dialogue avec Hannah Arendt. In M-C. Caloz-Tschopp (Ed.), (Re)Lire Hannah Arendt Aujourd’hui: Pouvoir, Guerre, Pensée, Jugement Politique (pp. 447-452). L'Harmattan.


    • Bagchi, B. (2005). "Instruction a torment"? Jane Austen's early writing and conflicting versions of female education in Romantic-Era "conservative" British women's novels. Romanticism on the Net, (40).
    • Bagchi, B. (2005). Gender, History, and the Recovery of Knowledge through Information and Communication Technologies. In Webs of History: Information, Communication, and Technology from Early to post-Colonial India (pp. 265-278). Manohar Publications.
    • Bagchi, B. (2005). Girls’ Education in Murshidabad: Tales From the Field. In U. C. Banimanjari Das (Ed.), Women’s Education and Politics of Gender (pp. 63-74). Bethune College.
    • Bagchi, B. (2005). ‘So Odd and So Stupid’: The Triumph of Fanny Price. In J. Austen, & S. Bhattacharji (Eds.), Mansfield Park: A Critical Edition (pp. 487-495). Viking Penguin.
    • Bagchi, B., Sinha, D., & Bagchi, A. K. (2005). Webs of History: Information, Communication, and Technology from Early to Post-colonial India. Manohar Publications.


    • Bagchi, B. (2004). Pliable Pupils and Sufficient Self-Directors: Narratives of Female Education by Five British Women Writers, 1778-1814. Tulika.


    • Bagchi, B. (2002). ‘No Truths, Only Ways of Seeing'? A Note on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Journal of the Department of English, University of Calcutta, 13-17.


    • Bagchi, B. (2022). Book review of Insurgent imaginations: World literature and the periphery by Auritro Majumder, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2021. Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 58(3), 432-433.
    • Bagchi, B. (2022). Review of Sandeep Banerjee, Space, Utopia and Indian Decolonization: Literary Pre-figurations of the Postcolony. New York: Routledge, 2019. Utopian Studies. Journal of The Society for Utopian Studies, 33(2), 346-349.


    • Bagchi, B. (2021). Ben Conisbee Baer. Indigenous Vanguards: Education, National Liberation, and the Limits of Modernism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019. American Historical review, 126(1), 276-277.


    • Bagchi, B. (2020). Joep Leerssen, Comparative Literature in Britain: National Identities, Transnational Dynamics 1800–2000. Studies in Comparative Literature 27. Cambridge: LEGENDA (Modern Humanities Research Association), 2019. History of Humanities, 5(2), 554-556.



    • Bagchi, B., Fuchs, E., & Rousmaniere, K. (2014). Introduction: Connecting histories of education: Transnational and cross-cultural exchanges in (post-)colonial education. In Connecting Histories of Education: Transnational and Cross-Cultural Exchanges in (Post)Colonial Education (pp. 1-8). Berghahn Books.


    • Bagchi, B. (2012). Review of Women Writing Gender: Marathi Fiction before Independence edited, translated and with an introduction by Meera Kosambi, New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2012. Economic & Political Weekly, 47(36), 27-29.


    • Bagchi, B. (2006). Review of Rinki Bhattacharya (ed.), Behind Closed Doors: Domestic Violence in India, SAGE: 2004. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 13(1), 121-123.


    • Bagchi, B. (2005). Review of Caroline Ramazanoglu and Janet Holland, Feminist Methodology: Challenges and Choices, SAGE: 2002. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 12(2-3), 464-467.
    • Bagchi, B. (2005). Review of Re-Visioning the Past: Early Photography in Bengal 1875-1915 by Malavika Karlekar; Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2005. Economic & Political Weekly, 40(40), 4320.


    • Bagchi, B. (2002). Review of Banani Mukhia, Women’s Images, Men’s Imagination, New Delhi: Manohar 2001. Economic & Political Weekly, 37(7), 629-630.




    • Bagchi, B. (2011). Ein einziges Land, welches die Erde ist: Rabindranath Tagores kreativer Kosmopolitismus. In Rabindranath Tagore: Wanderer zwischen Welten (pp. 33-38). Verlag Klemm+Oelschläger.


    • Bagchi, B. (2006). In Tarini Bhavan: Rokeya Sakhawat Hossains Padmarag und der Reichtum des südasiatischen Feminismus in der Förderung nicht konfessionsgebundener, den Geschlechtern gerecht werdender menschlicher Entwicklung. In G. A. Zakaria (Ed.), Wie schamlos doch die Mädchen geworden sind: Bildnis von Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain (pp. 115-130). IKO - Verlag für Interkulturelle Kommunikation.

    Media appearance

    Journal editor

    Talk / presentation

    • Bagchi, B. (speaker) (26-4-2024). Decolonizing the Mind: Contemporary Female-Authored Anglophone Utopian and Dystopian Fiction Entangled with South Asia, Centre for the Novel, University of Aberdeen.
    • Bagchi, B. (speaker) (23-4-2024). “The Stories We Reveal and Those We Hide”: Chai-Time at Cinnamon Gardens (2022), Everyday Utopia, Failure, Postcoloniality, and Fiction, University of Edinburgh.
    • Bagchi, B. (speaker) (13-9-2023). De Mensenrechtencoalitie Utrecht: Sociaal Dromen tussen Lokaal en Globaal, Mensenrechtencafe Restorative City Utrecht, Utrecht.
    • Bagchi, B. (speaker) (22-7-2023). “Along the Subarnarekha, the Golden Line: Revisiting the Stakes of Utopia and Dystopia in South Asian Modernisms in Literature and Film, c.1905-c.1962.”, Modernism and Its Continents, Berlin.
    • Bagchi, B. (speaker) (12-5-2021). An Unfinished Song: Listening to Less Heard Voices in Utopia, Calliope International Conference, Helsinki.
    • Bagchi, B. (speaker) (29-6-2012). Rooted Cosmopolitans: Internationalisation of Education and Aspects of the Innovations of Colonial Modernity in South Asia, International Standing Conference for the History of Education, Geneva.
    • Bagchi, B. (speaker) (9-9-2007). The history of women’s education in South Asia: Voices, resources, and agency, Collecting Women's Lives, 16th Annual Conference of the Women's History Network, Winchester.
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • Utrechtse Mensenrechtencoalitie
      Lid Kerngroep
    • Stichting Praemium Erasmianum
      Lid van het Bestuur
    • Govern. Committee Utopian Stud. Soc. Eur
    • Utopian Studies (journal)
      Member of Advisory Board