M.S (Applied Mathematics), University of Calgary, Canada (1979)

Biography

Sheila Sengupta’s research interests in the recent past has centered around areas of oral history, cultural studies, historical memory studies and processes of social reconstruction in the aftermath of conflict. One main purpose of her current research is to see how the lives of those who are non-actors in the political realm (namely women) are shaped by an epochal event like the Partition of India, and how their experience of it enables a critique of political history and the tools for writing it differently. By locating women at the intersection of political, economic and social forces rather than at the periphery, she hopes that her research will fill a ‘silence (absence)’ in Partition history.  <

Alsop,a unique combination of her training in Mathematics and her engaging interest in women’s studies and memory and culture studies have led her to discover a new ground of challenge in the field of translation. As a professional translator and researcher she has covered  genres including novellas, short stories and poetry by some major contemporary women writers. Two of her translated stories have been nominated for short films.

Her publications include six books, chapters in books and journals including Indian Literature , and web magazines. Importantly, she has collaborated on a British Akademi Project with Dr. Bashabi Fraser of Napier Edinburgh University on a seminal volume of some first-time ever translations of Partition stories from Bengal titled “Bengal Partition Stories – An Unclosed Chapter” published by Anthem Press, UK, and another self-authored translation of early feminist writings, “Reflective Prose by 19th Century Bengali Women” published by the Indian Academy of Literature in 2012. Many of these writings have been presented and also en-acted at various forums.

A recipient of several academic awards and scholarships in India and Canada, she has also been a Teaching Assistant for GRSJ.

Research

My present research titled “Gendered Perspective Of  the Partition of India “differs from most studies that  have  been approached largely in the mode of documentary historical scholarship which has tended to focus on  the politics of Partition ,neglecting the human dimension of this epoch making event. These studies underscore how the metaphorical representation of women’s chastity as representative of community honor was being constantly upheld  in patriarchal competitions for nationalist power, and  yet, women’s experiences of the event  remain largely obscure in the pages of official history. One  main purpose  of my research is, to see how the lives of those who are non actors in the political realm are shaped by an epochal  event like the Partition of India  , and how their experience of it enables a critique of political history and the tools for  writing it differently. By locating women at the intersection of  political,  economic and social forces rather than at the periphery , my  study hopes  to fill that ‘silence’ in Partition history by  adding  a critical dimension to such analysis. To unravel women’s experiences I  shall turn to unconventional sources like memoirs and fiction, personal  histories, oral narratives ,and archival materials using a broadly  multidisciplinary analytical approach that   draws on the disciplines of history, political science , gender and culture studies in an attempt towards a gendered social history of the time.

Selected Publications

Books

Bengal Partition Stories: An Unclosed Chapter” with Dr. Bashabi Fraser of the Centre for South Asian Studies, Edinburgh, published by the Anthem Press, U.K., 2007

Reflective Prose by 19th Century Bengali Women, published by the Indian Academy of Literature, New Delhi, 2012.


Recent Conference Presentations

Tagore’s views on women and the  Environment at a International Conference held by the Napier-Edinburgh University ,Edinburgh, May 2012

As a member delegate of the Government of India, presented a paper on the History of Bengali literature and early women writers ”at the University of British Columbia BC, as a part of the Indo- Canadian Festival in 2011. 

Feminist consciousness in 19th century Bengali Women’s writings” at the CWAGS seminar series in November 2011, as a visiting Scholar to the Department of CWAGS, UBC, Vancouver .

Coordinated   and participated in an international  seminar series on Tagore for the India International Centre, Delhi .Presented a paper titled  “ Tagore- a poet and an activist” in March 2011

Critique of  Tagore’s novels” for the Indian Academy of Literature , Tagore’s 150th Centenary  Celebration Program, Delhi in February 2011.

Women’s writings of 19th Century Bengal”, Department of Culture and communication, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada July 2010  .

Bengali  Literature and the nuances of translation from Bengali to English” at a Conference in Delhi University, February 2010

Problems and prospect of Cultural translation of early and contemporary Bengali fiction.”, North American Literary Conference in California, USA 2008