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Kanchan Mukhopadhyay Tagore National Fellow at Anthropological Survey of India, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

Kanchan Mukhopadhyay is Tagore National Fellow, Anthropological Survey of India. He has obtained his master’s degree in anthropology from University of Calcutta and doctoral degree from Vidyasagar University. He has worked for Anthropological Survey of India for most part of his career largely in eastern and north-eastern parts of India and in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. One major area of his research interest has remained construction and maintenance of identity among migrants and refugees; he has worked among such groups in West Bengal and Andaman Islands. He took part in the national ethnographic survey called People of India, especially in North-East India, which helped him to gain some insight into the multifaceted ethnic situation prevalent there. He has also taken interest in the study of relationship between small communities and nation-state and has written on paradigms of development and programmes for welfare of Scheduled Tribe communities. His other major work was study of impact of technological developments such as introduction of irrigation facilities, high-yielding varieties of seeds and chemical fertilisers on small-scale cultivators. He has also worked on methodological and ethical issues in social science research. Another area he has worked in is visual anthropology; he has supervised the ‘Visual Anthropology Unit’ of Anthropological Survey of India for many years and has made several films on various subjects like modes of cultural transmission, traditional knowledge system among artisanal fishermen and people’s initiative for conservation of culture. A film on the last topic ‘Trystwith Times’ was screened at Kolkata International Film Festival in 2017.

His interest in ideas and practices related to food developed since early 1990s when he studied processes of food production, distribution and consumption among certain socially and economically weak communities. He has probed into dimensions of power relations as expressed through food behaviour, collective memory of availability or scarcity of food, and food as symbol of social status.

As a Tagore National Fellow, he is researching on changing food practices in rural India. He is passionate about food and travel and loves to indulge in adventures while eating and travelling.