Arnav Bhattacharya standing in a plaza with trees

Arnav Bhattacharya

Herdegen Fellow

Arnav Bhattacharya (he/him) is a PhD candidate in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation, tentatively titled From the Kamasutra to Scientia Sexualis: A History of Sexual Science and Medicine in Twentieth-Century India, explores the history of the production, consolidation, and dissemination of medical and scientific knowledge on sex and sexuality in colonial and post-colonial India. His project interrogates how the history of Indian sexology through the course of the 20th century came to be increasingly intertwined with myriad issues such as endocrinology, medico-legal jurisprudence, social and sexual hygiene, public health initiatives, and sex education.

Arnav situates his scholarship among larger global histories of sexology and argues that factors like racism, Orientalism, and colonialism were not only instrumental in sexological knowledge production in India but also influenced Euro-American histories of sexology. His research has been funded by various research bodies and institutions within the University of Pennsylvania, as well as the American Institute of India Studies (AIIS) and the Huntington Library, California. His writings have been published in journals such as Porn Studies and Journal of the History of Sexuality (forthcoming).