As a Post-doctoral Scholar at MPI-MMG, Arpita Roy was conducting research on alchemy and occult Tantrism on the basis of extensive fieldwork in rural Bengal, India. A critical component of her research involved examining how alchemy forms a matchlessly supple instrument, which aligns the local landscape with the grand scale of cosmogenesis, to open-up several lines of questioning at the base of myth, history, and science. Her project, entitled “Tantrism in Contemporary Bengal”, was committed to taking textual material seriously and integrating it with fieldwork data in the hope that ethnography may clarify the rich layering and multi-directionality of Tantric thought. Arpita Roy received her doctorate in Anthropology in 2011 at the University of California, Berkeley, where she taught as a Lecturer for two years thereafter, followed by a Post-doctoral Research Fellowship at the Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale, Paris. Her doctoral dissertation was an ethnographic study of physics and physicists at the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. The radical shift in focus from particle physics to occult Tantrism is part of her commitment to interrogate, in a full sense, the boundaries and interrelations of fundamental categories called magic, religion and science, a topic whose seductive possibility once inhabited the heart of classical anthropology. Currently, Arpita Roy is affiliated with the University of Michigan.
- Tantric alchemy (completed)