Basuli Deb

Basuli Deb (PhD) is a scholar and activist working on gender justice, human rights, law, and literature. She teaches/mentors at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. A Global Scholar at the interdisciplinary Institute for Research on Women (IRW) at Rutgers-New Brunswick, she co-founded the international Research Group on Dalit and Adivasi Studies which works on caste justice and indigenous rights. Deb’s first monograph Transnational Feminist Perspectives on Terror in Literature and Culture focuses on human rights violations in the context of Islamophobia, indigenous ethnocide, caste injustice, settler colonial occupation, colonial wars, and apartheid. She has also published multiple sole authored peer reviewed articles on gender based violations, and co-edited a special issue and two anthologies.

Her current work at Columbia on the Rohingya genocide and the accompanying refugee crisis has branched out from her next monograph project on the connected materialities of indigenenous and transmigrant lives that she is now completing. She was invited to offer recommendations on forced impregnation in the Rohingya genocide and the legal vacuum around it in human rights laws and international policies/practices at a High Level Side Event panel at the sixty-third Commission on the Status of Women at the UN. This event on Gender Violence: Prevention, Protection, and Social Exclusion was co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh, the Permanent Mission of Denmark, UN/NGO Commitee on Migration, UN/NGO Commitee on the Commission on the Status of Women, and the PEACE Foundation. Deb was also an invited speaker at the Roosevelt Institute of Public Policy in NYC on women and children in the Myanmar genocide as they navigate bureacracies around international human rights conventions and practices as well as national sovereignty at home and host nations in South and South East Asia. In her keynote address at the 8th International Conference of the Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies “From MeToo to UsToo” she argued for a movement that addresses sexual violence that often accompanies economic violence against legally vulnerable migrant populations. Deb has partnered with NYC Mayor’s Commission on Gender Equity to promote the UN campaign called 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. She is a member of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women that supports the work of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and UN Women. During her earlier research and writing on sexual violence in the Guatemalan genocide against the indigenous Mayans she worked with exiled leaders of the revolution as well as various advocacy organizations and sectors of civil society, such as Guatemalan Human Rights Commission, Centro de Accion Legal de Derechos Humanos, Defensoria de la Mujer Indigena, Alianza Contra la Impunidad, and the Rigoberta Menchú Foundation. In India she has worked on gender based violence against lower caste and indigenous women with the Human Rights Commission, the Women’s Commission, and the Association For Protection of Democratic Rights.

As a featured author, critic, and filmmaker, Deb has been interviewed in journal, print media, and conference platforms, as well as television, and web broadcasts. She continues to serve as an invited speaker on academic and public debates around human rights and gender discrimination at conferences, campuses, consulates, and foundations across the US and abroad, and as an external expert for various institutes/organizations. Currently on the steering committee of the Modern Language Association (MLA) Radical Caucus, she has been internationally and nationally elected/selected to serve in various feminist leadership capacities, such as the MLA Delegate Assembly, the Women of Color Leadership Project of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA), and as a founding member of NWSA’s South Asian Feminist Caucus. A Distinguished Fellow of the Indian American Intellectuals’ Forum, Deb brings her professional experience in the fields of global issues, human rights, gender relations, and feminist leadership to US foreign policy dialogues. She serves on the advisory board of the Center for Media and Celebrity Studies in Toronto which is engaged in social justice research and activism.

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Basuli Deb, 2019