Dr. Devaleena Das

Photo of Devaleena Das
Professional Title
Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies


Devaleena Das's intellectual and pedagogical labor focuses on transnational analysis of gender, sexuality, race, and human bodies across the borders of cultures, disciplines and geography. As a body studies theorist, Das's scholarship expands from her early Ph.D thesis on feminist studies of diverse female bodies in  postcolonial space as reflected in Australian women's writing to her later transnational analysis of female desires, body and sexuality ranging from Middle East to East Asia. In 2019, she was awarded the Faculty of Education and Arts Fellowship at University of Newcastle (UoN), Australia to conduct her research on corporeal feminism in Aboriginal women's art and dance, interact with Ph.D scholars regarding transnational feminist research methodologies, and for bridging academic collaboration between UMD and UoN.  Earlier, she was also awarded a Foreign Endowment Fellowship (2009) at the University of Queensland, Brisbane. Before joining UMD in 2018, she served as Assistant Professor of English and Gender Studies at Delhi University  (2012-14), worked on her postdoctoral research project at University of Wisconsin-Madison (2014-17) and was also a lecturer of transnational feminist studies at Northern Arizona University (2017-18). 

Research and Publications

Dr. Das's  research explores alternative theories of human bodies based on narratives in real life, literature, art, religious myths, and performances, to convey, as Das says, “that respecting and honoring neglected bodies are crucial to prevent social injustices and develop a better healthcare system.” Das has also delivered various invited lectures, plenary and keynote addresses on transnational feminism(s)  and body studies in Australia, Canada, India and America. Writing across transdisciplinary fields, her scholarship spans several geographical and cultural boundaries and her articles have been published in several peer-reviewed journals including HecateFamiliesSouth Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, among others. Dr. Das is currently the editorial Board Member of Hecate: An Interdisciplinary Journal of women's Liberation and served as an external examiner of Ph.D dissertations  at University of Queensland, Brisbane.


  • Anatomophilia: A Transnational Approach to Liberation of the Body (Forthcoming, State University of New York Press)
  • 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)

Recent Grants and Awards

  • 2021-College of Liberal Arts, UMD Award for Research/Creative Activity in Tenure-track category
  • 2021-College of Liberal Arts, UMD Teaching Award in the tenure-track category
  • 2020 (As Principal Investigator) 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- Outstanding/Extraordinary Professor by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • 2020-21 Imagine Fund Annual Award $5,000 for book project research. Project title: "Unapologetic Human Anatomy in Feminist and Queer Art, Literature, and Dance." 
  • 2020 Visiting Scholar in Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle.
  • 2020-Australia-India Youth Dialogue Leadership Award (declined)
  • 2019 FEDUA Fellowship (June-July) (AUD) Project Title: “Can We Love the Posthuman Body?”

Areas of Focus

  •  Body Studies/Corporeal Feminism
  • Feminist New Materialism
  • Performance and Embodiment
  • Transnational and Postcolonial Studies of Sexuality and Race
  • Feminist Research and Methodologies
  • Politics of Knowledge Formation
  • Migration and Diaspora Studies
  • Disability Studies
  • Australian and South Asian Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Religion and Sexuality
  • Gender and Terrorism
  • Health Humanities 

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Transnational Feminism(s)
  • Women, Race and Class
  • Feminist Theory 
  • Feminist and Queer Methods and Methodologies 
  • Transnational Perspectives of Gender, Body and Corporeal Feminism
  • Gender, Women and Cultural Representation
  • Inscribing the Body Through Life Narratives of Women
  • Women in Cross Societal Perspectives
  • Religion, Gender and Sexuality
  • Introduction to Women’s Studies
  • Women and Films
  • Advanced Seminar and Capstone Course