Rakhi Ghoshal ([email protected])
Currently an independent social science consultant working in the interdisciplinary areas of bioethics and cultural studies. After her Masters in English Literature from University of Calcutta, she went on to do a PhD from the Centre for Studies in Culture and Society (CSCS), Bangalore. Her doctoral thesis titled ‘Experience and Knowledge of Birthing’, used mixed methods and deployed the analytic frames and conceptual tropes of history, science studies and gender studies to question and unpack the cultural politics and the political economy of the phenomenon of institutionalizing childbirth in 19th century India and thereby to map the coordinates of the onto-epistemological ‘spill-overs’ of the colonial imperatives, priorities and prejudices into the space of institutionalized childbirth in the contemporary.
Ghoshal has worked on different Wellcome Trust projects, and her current project (2014-2017), located at King’s College, London, is a qualitative study which is designed to understand (through fieldwork in Rajasthan and Mumbai, and in-depth interviews of providers, recipients and other stakeholders) the different ways by which cultural expectations, conventional practices and beliefs shape motivations to access Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) services in India, especially amongst the non-elite.
She has taught courses and conducted sessions on bioethics, gender, development and health for medical and non-medical students and research staff; she has presented academic papers at prestigious conferences in India and abroad, and published in reputed academic journals. Currently she is co-editing two volumes, one each on clinical research ethics, and science, technology and ethical challenges. She serves on the editorial board of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, and served as Secretary on the Forum for Medical Ethics (FMES), Mumbai, between 2014 and 2016, and continues as the Forum’s Joint-Secretary now. She is trained in the ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ (from Centre for Community Dialogue and Change, www.ccdc.in), a political form of theatre founded by Brazilian theatre director Augusto Boal: this theatre has been used to interactively introduce medical humanities in medical courses especially in India, spearheaded by Dr Radha Ramaswamy of the CCDC.
As a social science researcher, Ghoshal is invested in questions and concerns of gender, health, development, science and technology; she remains motivated to contribute to scholarship and participate in the collective efforts to affect positive change, to rethink ‘development’ and ‘progress’ in non-hegemonic ways, besides evoking the ethical in questions of life, living and development.