SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Mukta Das

BA History, MA African and Asian History , MRes Anthropological Research Methods
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Mukta Das
Department of Anthropology and Sociology

PhD Student

Ms Mukta Das
Email address:
Thesis title:
Social Delicacies: Indian Restaurants in Guangzhou.
Year of Study:
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After finishing my Masters in history at SOAS, I received a BACS scholarship to further my language studies in Mandarin Chinese. SInce then I have gained several years of experience in evaluation, strategy development and fundraising in naional and International NGOs. and the equivalent in project management eperience in sectors such as advertising and dance education. I have lived or worked in India, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea undertaking complex research and creative projects.  

PhD Research

My PhD research tries to untangle the complexities of India’s international relations with China through everyday transactions within the restaurant industry. In short, this work asks whether Indian restaurants in China have a metonymic relationship with China-India relations. In doing so my research interacts with ideas around scale in anthropological studies of hospitality and relational dynamics in studies of commensality. China as a setting has implications for the research frame. The study takes into account not only the place of restaurants within Indian migratory flows but also China’s increasing diversification and the place of Indians within this. It also takes into account certain forms of modernisation in Chinese cities which realise particular ambitions to become culinary capitals and the place in this development of Indian restaurateurs who journey to, set up and serve Indian food in Indian restaurants in China’s cities.

The fieldwork takes place primarily in Guangzhou, but also looks at how Indian restaurants travel with networks of people, goods and ideas, arriving in Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Yiwu, Beijing.