SOAS University of London

Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS)

Raahi Adhya

BA (Hons) English (Jadavpur University), MA Women's Studies (TISS, Mumbai), MPhil Women's Studies (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
  • Research


Raahi Adhya
Raahi Adhya
Email address:
Thesis title:
The Fantastic World of the Bengali 'Roopkotha'—Gendering the Creation of a Popular Literary Genre in 19th and Early 20th Century Bengal (working title)
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


Before joining CCLPS as a doctoral student, I completed my Bachelors in English Literature, followed by a Masters and an MPhil in Women's Studies. It was during my MPhil that I brought together my interests in questions of textual and visual representation with my understanding of concepts of gender and sexuality to explore a particularly famous anthology of Bengali 'roopkotha' (loosely, but commonly translated to English as 'fairytales') called 'Thakumar Jhuli' (1907). My MPhil project was supported by the Junior Research Fellowship from the University Grants Commission, India, which also allowed me to present my work at a number of national and international conferences. Since my time as a Bachelors student I have also contributed through academic and journalistic writings, as well as outreach work, towards dealing with the issue of Child Sexual Abuse.

PhD Research

My doctoral project (supported by the SOAS Research Studentship) focuses on a Bengali literary genre called the 'roopkotha', that developed as a children's genre over the turn of the 20th century, and at its peak, was closely associated with a Bengali cultural-nationalist drive during what is understood as the peak of the 'swadeshi' or anti-colonial movement in the region. The study particularly looks at how the genre opened up debates about gender, sexuality and childhood at the time and how these centrally shaped how the genre crystallised in the early 20th century and how it is remembered to this day. Through my doctoral project, I wish to contribute to the cultural history of 'swadeshi' and folklore collection, the discursive or intellectual history of the categories of childhood and womanhood during this time, and a literary study of the 'roopkotha' and its uneasy relation to conceptualisations of gender and sexuality within the logic of 'swadeshi', despite being very closely linked with its project.


  • Article: 'Archiving Elusive Pasts: Reflections on My Visits to Bangla Academy, Dhaka' in Anthropology Journal, Dhaka. 20 September 2020.


  • Invited session taken on the topic of 'Decolonizing Literary Studies' for the Research Training Seminar for PhD 1st year students of School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics and East Asian Languages and Cultures, SOAS on 1st December, 2020
  • Invited talk at the 'Interdisciplinary Research Students’ Colloquium' held at the Centre for Women's Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University on 9 September, 2019
  • Invited Lecture at the School of Human Studies at Ambedkar University on 4 September, 2019


  • Cultures of childhood
  • Folktales and fairytales
  • Histories of print
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Cultural Studies