Dr. Devaleena Das

Photo of Devaleena Das
Professional Title
Associate Professor of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies; Co-Director of MPact MN Rural Health & Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Biobehavioral Health


Devaleena Das holds a joint appointment between the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS) and the School of Medicine. Das's intellectual-pedagogical labor focuses on transnational analysis of human bodies, health, race, gender, sexuality, and ecology across borders of cultures, disciplines and geography. Das earned a PhD (University of Calcutta) in feminist spatio-temporal body politics in settler-colonial Australia. Before joining UMD in 2018, she served as Assistant Professor at the Delhi University (2012-14), worked on her postdoctoral research project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2014-17) and was also a lecturer of transnational feminist studies at Northern Arizona University (2017-18). 

Research and Publications

Das is a feminist and queer of color critique body theorist whose transdisciplinary research on health and wellness problematizes idealization of evolutionary human biology versus freedom and individual choice influenced by technologies of race, gender, transnationality, medicalization and political economy. Das's research explores alternative theories of human bodies based on real life narratives, ethnography, field research, literature, art, religious myths, and performances to initiate an ethical and respectful understanding of marginalized bodies and contributes toward corporeal justices in healthcare system.  In this regard, she bridges Feminist New Materialism with Feminist Environmentalism and Indigenous/ Aboriginal metaphysics. She investigates the dilemma of transhumanism that brings in the hope to eliminate disease, aging and miseries, but also reduces corporeality to a “data body” or information profile in clinical practice and security surveillance. In 2023, for her research, Das has received The Innovation Impact Case Award, the highest prestigious research award from the Office of the Vice President, University of Minnesota. In 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services recognized Das as the “Outstanding/Extraordinary Professor and Researcher of International Recognition” for her research in health and body studies. 

Das has delivered various invited lectures, plenary and keynote addresses on biopolitics and health in various countries across the globe including Australia, Canada, USA, Taiwan, UAE. Writing across transdisciplinary fields, her scholarship spans several geographical and cultural boundaries and her articles have been published in flagship peer-reviewed journals including Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy (Cambridge University Press), Feminist Studies (John Hopkins University Press), Hecate (Queensland Univ Press), Meridians: Feminism, Race and Transnationalism (Duke University Press), Feminist Formations (John Hopkins Univ Press), South Asia:  Journal of South Asian Studies (Taylor and Francis) among others. Das also serves on various editorial boards including as the Series Editor of Palgrave Studies in Contemporary Women’s Writing, Associate Editor of Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine and the Editorial Board of Hecate: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Women's  Liberation


  • Anatomophilia: A Transnational Approach to Liberation of the Body (Forthcoming)
  • Unveiling Desire: Fallen Women in Literature, Culture, and Films of the East (Rutgers University Press, 2018)
  • Claiming Space: Australian Women’s Writing (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
  • Alice Walker’s The Color Purple: Critical Perspectives (Pencraft International, 2016)
  • Critical Study of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter (Atlantic Publishers, 2014)

Selected Recent Grants and Awards

2023   The Innovation Impact Case Award from the Office of the Vice President, University of Minnesota. 

2023   HEAL: Health-Equity Advocacy & Love, Faculty Driven Proposal Award, Institute for Diversity, Equity, and Advocacy, University of Minnesota 

2023   Chancellor’s Small Grant, University of Minnesota 

2022    Single Semester Paid Research Leave, University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD)

2021   Award for Best Research Activity, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, UMD

2021    Award for Best Teaching, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, UMD

2020   Outstanding/Extraordinary Professor and Researcher of International Recognition, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 

2020   National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) CARES grant Award: $175,745 Project title: "Stories of Wisdom from Bodies in Separation (SWaBS): Archiving the Coronavirus Pandemic Through the Lens of Humanities." https://covidstories.d.umn.edu/

2020   Annual Faculty Award from the Executive Vice President and Provost Office for Innovative Research, University of Minnesota

2020   Visiting Scholar in Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, University of Washington, Seattle

2020   Australia-India Youth Dialogue Leadership Award awarded by India-Australian governments

2019   Faculty of Education & Arts (FEDUA) Visiting Research Fellowship, Purai Global Indigenous and Diaspora Research Studies Centre, University of Newcastle, Australia

2018    Most Influential Professor Award, Northern Arizona University

Areas of Focus

Body and Embodiment, Transnational Study of Public Health, Race and Sexuality, Queer Ecology, Critical Disability Studies, Feminist Bioethics, Feminist and Queer Research Methodologies, Medical Humanities, Migration and Diaspora Studies, Feminist New Materialism, Politics of Knowledge Formation, Aboriginal Feminism, and South Asian Cultural Studies.

Courses Taught

  • Body, Sexuality & Health
  • Feminist and Queer Research Methods Across Disciplines 
  • Theories in Gender and Sexuality Studies 
  • Gender Studies Senior Seminar: Body Politics and Embodiment
  • Ecofeminism and Queer Ecology
  • Intro to Gender and Sexuality Studies 
  • Transnational Feminisms
  • Women, Race and Class
  • Inscribing the Body Through Life Narratives
  • As Rural Health MPact Course Director for grad students in the Medical School, Das delivers lectures and direct course topics related to positionality and lived experiences, rural environmental health disparity, reflecting on bias and demonstrating inclusion in healthcare, intersectionality of disability, rurality and transgender health, mind-body paradigm in medicine, informed consent, trust and mistrust, queer microbiopolitics in medicine, and politics of reproductive futurism and clinical practice