Dr. Annapurna Devi Pandey is a very well-known personality in the OSA community, in USA and worldwide for her numerous contributions as an anthropology and sociology scholar, educator, writer (both in Odia and English), orator, social activist, filmmaker, organizer, and a life-long volunteer for Odisha and Odia cause. Following is a brief list of rationale describing these credibility's.
A Brief Background
Dr. Pandey did her undergraduate degree at Ravenshaw College, now university, and earned both her Master’s and PhD in Sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. After her graduate work at JNU, she taught Sociology at Ravenshaw University, Odisha, from 1981- 1988 before going to Cambridge University as a commonwealth fellow in Social Anthropology. She was a Postdoctoral fellow in Social Anthropology at Cambridge university, UK (1988- 1989). This year she has held a senior Fulbright Nehru teaching and research fellowship for her project Skilled in Odisha (2017-2018).
Dr. Pandey has been teaching Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz since 1995 and also taught for a decade at San Jose State University, California. Her area of research includes women’s activism and leadership in India; their economic and political empowerment in rural and tribal India; and women’s identity making in the Indian Diaspora in California. Her latest project is women and work in the context of economic nationalism in India.
She was invited to teach Semester at Sea (SAS) Spring, 2016. She taught two courses, Gender: A cross Cultural Perspective and Anthropology of Aging. http://www.semesteratsea.org/voyages/spring-2016/;
She has authored numerous essays on Indian Women’s activism, agency and entrepreneurship in India and Indian diaspora. Her research work has been published in books, international journals and academic proceedings. Dr. Pandey has presented papers in more than a hundred national and international conferences in Canada, Germany, Latin and South America, Croatia, UK, Australia, Netherlands, Brazil among others and at various universities all over the world. She organized various international conferences, workshops, symposia; panels at international conferences and has been invited as keynote speaker/ plenary speaker/resource person in various conferences, seminars, panels, forums, and institutes around the globe. Besides teaching at UC Santa
Cruz and San Jose, Dr. Pandey taught for Semester at Sea, Spring 2016, run by the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. She travelled to more than 11 different countries teaching two courses, Gender, a cross- cultural perspective, and Aging Across Cultures.
A few of the recent notable contribution is a contributed a chapter titled, Women and Religion in the Indian Diaspora in Multiculturalism and the Convergence of Faith and Practical Wisdom in Modern Society (ed.) IGI Global, 2017. 2016 “Rural Women’s Self-Determination and Grassroots Resistance Movement:
Reclaiming Land and Traditional Livelihoods in Odisha,” a chapter contribution in Dr. Bidyut Mohanty, Amrita Patel and Asha Hans eds. For a proposed book titled Women in Odisha, OUP Press.
2016 “Microcredit/Microfinance: An Indian Alternative to Development,” a chapter contribution in a proposed book by Bidyut Mohanty ed. Micro Credit, OUP Press.
Another notable contribution is her film Road to Zuni, A rare documentary on the contribution of an Indian anthropologist to the American Indians in the USA.
Spreading Odisha/India Culture
Currently she is a senior Fulbright U.S. Scholar in India (2017-2018) and has spent the last 9 months in Odisha. Her research project focuses on the Make in India and Skilling India projects popularized by the present government and
their impact on everyday life of rural and tribal women in Odisha. She also developed a Faculty Led Study program (FLSP) for UC Santa Cruz students and has taught it at the Centurion university of Technology and Management (CUTM) during 2014, 2015 and 2017. This was widely appreciated by the state of Odisha, which honored the American students and their interest in the cultures and people of Odisha.
Dr. Pandey is an accomplished filmmaker. Homeland in the Heart; The Myth of Buddha’s Birthplace (with Prof. James Freeman), which has received several awards at national and international film festivals. She just completed another educational film, Road to Zuni, which will be screened at various film festivals and academic meetings worldwide.