Women's Studies


The Department of Women's Studies, Gauhati University was established in the year 2010. The field of Women's Studies is a growing reflection of the changes that are taking place in the realm of academics worldwide. Women's Studies as an academic discipline appeared for the first time in the United States in the second half of the 1960s as the educational wing of feminism. Women's Studies pointed out that women tended to be invisible from academics because emphasis was always laid on important men and men's ideas and interests. It also questioned the ways in which conventional androcentric knowledge accepted by society had concealed the lives and experiences of women. What Women's Studies does is that while on the one hand it challenges/questions conventional systems of knowledge, it also creates alternative knowledge systems. Women's Studies, therefore, aims to develop new ways of thinking about research and constructing knowledge which would be sensitive to women's circumstances and perspectives. Inter-disciplinarily, reflexivity and non- conformity demarcates Women's Studies from other traditional disciplines.


The Department of Women's studies emerged as a full-fledged department in the year 2010 when a proposal was sent to the University authorities by the Women's Studies Research Centre as per the UGC XIth plan Guidelines for the Development of Women's Studies. Starting a department of Women's Studies was prioritized and made possible because of this Endeavour. The Department started functioning with all teaching activities being placed under the direct control of it with the Centre continuing to function with its training, documentation and advocacy activities. Research is conducted at both the levels while researchers gain their formal research degrees from the Department.

The Department has completed five successful years. Although still comparatively at a nascent stage the department has the advantage of being guided by the experience and strength gained by the Women's studies research centre in the long 20 years of the latter-s existence within the University, the two being in a syncretic relationship. The department therefore began on a strong foundation of prior research, making it possible to shape a strong curriculum with stress on innovative pedagogy in the classrooms and field action projects.

The mission of the department therefore is to train students and research scholars in thinking critically about society and gender based discrimination. The attempt is not only to create socially sensitive and responsible individuals but also to mainstream gender issues at all levels. The department aims to uphold the interdisciplinary thrust by acting as a catalyst in creating meaningful dialogues between various disciplines on issues related to gender. Research and extension work being an indispensable part of the discipline of women's Studies the Department aims to enhance the visibility of women and gender issues within the academic community of the University and the society at large

The department envisions to be recognized and formally upgraded as a centre for advanced learning and together with the Women's studies Research Centre it hopes to act as a inter-University resource centre.

In keeping with the mission for furthering interdisciplinary research and teaching the Department hopes to be able to act as a key player in laying the foundation for a Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies in Gauhati University

Old Departmental Data

A collaborative research project with Uppsala University, Sweden titled -Study with Focus on Knowledge, Experience and Perceptions on Different Solutions to Childlessness, with Focus on Surrogacy in Assam - has been initiated. The research project includes collaborations with regard to facilitation in the area of field work translation and transcription by Anna Arvidsson research scholar of Department of Women's and Children-s Health, International Maternal and Child Health at Uppsala University, Sweden and members from the Department. A MOU has been signed on 28-10-2013 in this regard.

The UGC has recommended a grant of Rs 12,67,600 for a Major Research Project of three years duration on - Prevention, Prohibition, and Redress of Sexual Violence at Professional and Public Places in Assam: Post 23rd April 2013 with Dr. Polly Vauquline as the Principal Investigator

The US Consulate Kolkata awarded the project entitled -Building Community Response to Counter Violence Against Women in Greater Guwahati Area of Kamrup District in Assam State of North East India 2014-15- as the winning project with a grant of Rs. 1.5 Lakhs to Dr. Syeda Sakira Sahin.

Postgraduate Course

Course Type: Course Name: Subject: Semesters Years Intake Capacity:
Postgraduate M.A. in Women's Studies Women's Studies 4 2 38
Course Type: Course Name: Subject: Semesters Years Intake Capacity:
Postgraduate M.Phil in Women's Studies Women's Studies 2 1
Course Type: Course Name: Subject: Semesters Years Intake Capacity:
Postgraduate Ph.D. in Women's Studies Women's Studies course work of 6 months 5

Undergraduate Course

Course Type: Course Name: Subject: Semesters Years Intake Capacity:
Postgraduate Certificate Course in Gender Studies Gender Studies 3 months


Alpana Borgohain [ Head of the Department ]
MA (Dibrugarh) PhD (Dibrugarh) MPhil (Dibrugarh) Women's Studies

Associate Professor

Polly Vauquline
MA (Gauhati) PhD (NEHU) Gender Geography, Women's Studies

Assistant Professors

Poonam Kakoty Borah
MA (JNU) MPhil (JNU) Feminist Theory, Queer Theory, Political
Syeda Sakira Sahin
MA (JNU) PhD (Gauhati) Women's Movement, Women's Rights and Citizenship, Women's Health

Associated Faculty

Jayanti Sharma
MA (in Political Science, Gauhati) Women's Studies (Guest Faculty)
Pallabi Gogoi
MA (Gauhati) Women's Studies (Guest Faculty)
Prafulla Hazwary Leo
MA (Gauhati) Social Work (Guest Faculty)
Ratna Bhuyan
MA (Gauhati) PhD (Gauhati) Feminist Economics (Guest Faculty)
Rukchana Rahman
MA (Gauhati) PhD (NEHU) Feminist Theory (Guest Faculty)
Sheila Borah (Retired Professor)
MA (Dibrugarh) PhD (Gauhati) History (Guest Faculty)
Sutopa Raichowdhury
MA (Gauhati) Women and Science (Guest Faculty)
Swarnalata Das (Retired Professor)
MA (Gauhati) PhD (Gauhati) Education (Emeritus Fellowship)
Dr Lakhimee Devee (Scientific Officer)
Alpana Baruah (Women Workers in Agriculture)
Angkita Dutta (Women and Governance)
Anwara Begum Mazumder (Feminist Movements) UGC JRF
Barnali Sharma (Media)
Bhaswati Medhi (Gender Violence)
Deepsikha Carpenter (Legal Provisions and Gender Violence) UGC JRF
Dikshita Bhuyan (Gender, Caste And Women Writings)
Imrana Begum (Advertising and Women)
Jushna Baruah (Women and Cultural Studies)
Jyotisikha Sarma (Women and Representation in Writings)
Lonee Dowerah (Women and NGOs)
Madhulina Choudhury (Women and Representation in Literature)
Manashree Baruah (Women's Writings)
Monalisha Roychaudhury (Women and Conflict)
Mukut Baruah (Women and Governance)
Pallabi Nath (Political Participation of Women)
Pallabi Saikia (Witch- Hunting)
Pratitee Barman (Reproductive Health)
Sanjaoy Pathari (Status of Women Workers)
Solomon Islary (Women and Constitutional Rights)
Sutapa Raichaudhury (Chemistry And Feminist Epistemology)
Tripti Rekha Baruah (Political Awareness and Women)
Yasmin Khan (Literature)
Jyotisikha Dutta (Senior Laboratory Assistant)
Ajit K Singha (Supporting Staff)


Department of Women's Studies
Gauhati University, Guwahati 781014, Assam
Phone : (+91) 9435144275
Email : womenstudies@gauhati.ac.in
Web   : gauhati.ac.in/ws



The Department library along with the resources available at the WSRC is a specialized research resource centre with a collection of published and unpublished materials relating to women/ women issues. At present the library of the Centre has approximately 1500 books, subscribes to 9 Journals and 7 newspapers. The library plans to expand its collection of books in the coming years.

The Library also subscribes to Local and National Newspapers and various journal are there interested readers like JonakiBaat (Assamese), NatunPadatik (Assamese), The Indian Police Journal(English) etc.

Computer and Internet Facility

The Department of Women's Studies has a computer lab with Internet facility with an access to all kind of e-journals

Photocopy Facility

Photocopying facilities are available at user cost


Programmes Conducted
  1. he Department in collaboration with Heart Care Society of Assam conducted an awareness Programme on Women and Heart Care on 12.05.2015. The lecture was delivered by Dr N.K. Bhattachajee, President, Heart Care Society of Assam. After the presentation, an interactive session was conducted.
  2. The Department in collaboration with Indian Association of Women's Studies (IAWS) organised a National Seminar on Gender and Displacement in the Northeast on 17- 18 March 2015. The seminar was aimed at stimulating in-depth analysis and research on Gender and Displacement with a tacit focus on the Northeast. It was widely attended by teachers and research scholars from the University, NGO representatives and activists
  3. International women's day, 2015 was celebrated by organizing various programmes such as street play, movie screening, food fest etc within the University premises.
  4. A special lecture on -Working With Others: Community, Solidarity and Women's Studies- was delivered by Prof. NandanaDutta, Department of English, Gauhati University on 17 October 2014 at PhanidharDatta Seminar Hall, Gauhati University.
  5. An awareness camp on -Dial 100 And Cyber Crime- was organized on 25th Sep, 2014 at PhanidharDutta Seminar Hall, GU. Sri Biraj Das, Addl. Supdt. of Police, Dial 100 and Sri NirmalBaishya, APS Addl. Supdt. of Police, CID, Assam conducted the camp.
  6. Entries to a Slogan Writing Competition reflecting the theme -Violence against women in the Public Places- was called for on 08.09.14. The Contest was open to both Post- graduate and Under-graduate students with entries being asked either in English or in Assamese. In all, approximately 70 entries were received from different parts of the State.
  7. Sri G.K. Das, Director of Assam Forest School, Jalukbari participated in an interactive session on Joint Forest Management with the Second Semester students of M.A. Programme in Women's Studies on 23.06.2014 at Assam Forest School. The session was arranged with the intention of students- acquiring first hand information on Joint forest management with special emphasis on the role of Women in Forest management of Assam, North East India. Discussions also involved forest polices of North-East India.
  8. XIV National Conference on Women's Studies, 4th to 7th February 2014: XIV National Conference on Women's Studies of Indian Association for Women's Studies was organized by the Department of Women's Studies, Gauhati University from 4th to 7th February 2014 in collaboration with along TISS Guwahati, Cotton College and North East Network. The theme of the conference was -Equality, Pluralism and the State: Perspectives from the Women's Movement". This was the first conference on Women's Studies held in North East India and it attracted around 850 delegates from across the country. Prominent Women's Studies scholars and dignitaries such as NaditaHaksar, Vrinda Grover, MonishaBehal, Syeda Hamid, TiplutNongbri, Uma Chakravarty, Geraldine Forbes spoke in the conference, among others. It was also attended by international delegates from Oxford University, Cambridge University, Austria University etc.
Field Trips
  1. The department organized a 10 day educational trip to Delhi (15.02.14- 25.02.14) which involved lectures by Scholars of Women's Studies, Library Visits, Movie screening and NGO Visits. The organizations visited include: Centre for Women's Development Studies (CWDS), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Sama- Resource Group for Women and Health, Campaign against Pre-birth Elimination of Females.
  2. The students of second and fourth semester, M.A Programme in Women's Studies along with the faculty and research staff of the Department and the Centre visited Joramukhuria Village on 31.03.2014 and conducted a field survey of the village. Joramukhuria is a Rabha dominated village in Chandubi located in a JFM area and has been explored as a model for sustainable development through eco-tourism.
Visitors to the Department
  1. Member-Secretary of Assam State Commission for Women, MonidipaBorkotoki, ACS visited the Department of Women's Studies on 02.07.14 to discuss the feasibility of conducting micro-survey on aspects of -Women and Violence in Assam- and the possibility of arranging lectures on Legal Awareness for students and research scholars of Gauhati University.
  2. Dr. Sophie Hawkins , Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Religion, Hoffstra University, NY visited the Department - to discuss about the feasibility of bringing students of Hoffstra University, NY to the Department of Women's Studies for a two week research project in 2015. A proposal for initiating Visiting Professorship for Ann Burlein Associate Professor (Religion and Sexuality, Religion and Medicine) Hoffstra University, NY was also discussed.
  3. Dr. AnjanaPurkayastha, Ms. Clear Raphael, Ms. Mercy Jishing, Ms. BidushreeDaimari, SubhimolGildsmith and UmeshKerketta, Office Bearers of World Vision visited the Department to discuss about a proposed collaborative research work related to crime against Women in the Guwahati City on 28.02.14.
  4. Dr. NavaneetaSashikumar, Intervention Cardiologist from NarayanaSuperspeciality Hospital delivered a lecture on -Women's Health with special reference to Cardiac problems- on 26.11.13.
  5. Dr. Rituparna Bhattacharya, In-Charge of Training and Development, Alliance for Community Capacity Building in North East India delivered a series of lectures on -Scientific Social Research, Feminist Research and Research Design- for the students of MA, M.Phil and Ph.Dprogramme of the Department in the month of August, 2013.
  6. Dr. NabanitaDeka, Assistant Professor, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, GMCH, delivered a series of lectures on -Reproductive Health and Women- for the students of MA Programme in the month of April and May, 2014.
  7. Anna Arvidsson, a Ph. D scholar of Department of Women's and Children-s Health, International Maternal and Child Health at Uppsala University, Sweden- visited the department regularly for conducting a collaborative research project on -Study with focus on knowledge, experience and perceptions on different solutions to childlessness, with focus on surrogacy in Assam.

Student Achievements

  1. The students of M.A. Programme in Women's Studies participated in a discussion of the channel DY 365. The topic of discussion was - Government Jobs v/s Private Jobs - and was held on 31.08.13. Kabita Chetia and Papi Devi were the participants in this talk show.
  2. Rosemary Guria and Madhuri Sharma, students of M.A. Programme in Women's Studies took part in another talk show in DY365 on - Crime against women, held on 13.09.13.
  3. The students of M.A. Programme in Women's Studies won the Third Prize in Wall Magazine Competition held as a part of Varsity Week of Gauhati University, 2014.

NET/JRF Scholars

Lonee Duwarah (2012), Rosemary Guria (2013), and Deepsikha Carpenter (2014), qualified UGC-NET Examination (Women's Studies)in December 2012, 13 and 14 respectively. Ms. Guria was the only candidate who has cleared UGC-NET in Women's Studies from the entire Guwahati Centre.

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