Dr. Arpita Roy, 2015-2019
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.