Shweta Krishnan

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Shweta Krishnan


Program: Sociocultural Anthropology PhD

Year Entered: Fall 2015

Primary advisor: Attiya Ahmad, Ilana Feldman

Shweta Krishnan brings anthropology of religion into dialogue with multispecies ethnographies and transnational studies to examine the revival of the religious discourse of Donyipolo in contemporary North-East India. Drawing on ethnographic and archival methods, she works with the Mising tribal community in Majuli, Assam to explore the formation of tribal subjectivities, networks, geographies and human-nonhuman kinships. Her work revisits and reimagines classical anthropological categories like “tribe” and “kinship,” by demonstrating the complex ways in which they are contested and negotiated vis-à-vis a religious revival.

In the past, she has worked with an Indian Institutes of Technology Madras team to do research on how the local–global binary shapes understandings of bioethics in Tamil Nadu, India. Before this, she worked with several transnational feminist networks and trained as a medical doctor at the Madras Medical College.


Submitted and Under Peer Review:

  • Krishnan, Shweta. The Unwillingness to Unlearn: The Formation of A Mising Mestiza in the Ethical Borderlands of Majuli, Assam.” Scholar and Feminist, Spring 2019.

Peer–Reviewed Publications:

  • van Hollen, Cecilia, Krishnan, Shweta and Rathnam, Shibani. 2019. “It’s partly in our hands; it’s partly in the hands of the goddess”: Cancer patients’ quest for well-being in India.” Purushartha: Science Sociales en Asie du Sud (Social Science in South Asia), 36(1): 179-206
  • Krishnan, Shweta. 2015. “The MTP Amendment Bill, 2014: Towards Re-imagining Abortion Care” The Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, 12(1): 43–46. The MTP Amendment Bill, 2014: Towards Re-imagining Abortion Care.” doi: 10.20529/IJME.2015.010

Book Review:

  • Krishnan, Shweta. 2017. Review of Kirin Narayan. 2016. Everyday Creativity: Singing Goddesses in the Himalayan Foothills. (University of Chicago Press). Anthropological Quarterly 90(3): 421–425.
  • Krishnan, Shweta. 2020. Review of Anand Pandian. 2019. A Possible Anthropology: Methods for Uneasy Times. (Duke University Press). Anthropology Book Forum.

Invited Talks:

  • Unwillingness to Unlearn: Subject Formation in the Ethical Borderlands, Department of Comparative Literature, University of Calcutta, October 13, 2020

Conference Presentations:

  • Reading E.B. Tylor in Assam: Reflections on the Epistemologies of the Nonhuman | Meetings of the American Anthropological Association, Vancouver, November 2019
  • Just Like A Friend: The Role of Friendships in Calibrating Ethnographic Positionality | National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference, November 2019
  • The Art of Prayer: Creativity in the Production of An Ethical Subject | Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison, October 2019

Public Engagement:

M.A. (Anthropology), 2018, George Washington University

M.S. (Journalism), 2011, Boston University

M.B.B.S. (Bachelors in Clinical Medicine and Surgery), 2007, Madras Medical College, India