Research Cafe: Pritha Mukherjee

Join the School of Graduate Studies as we engage in this interdisciplinary community of practice and dialogue about graduate students' innovative research in a friendly and low-stakes setting.

Event Description

Research Cafe: April 17, 2024

3:00 - 4:00pm

The Hatchery Innovation Studio, Alexander Library

169 College Ave., New Brunswick

Zoom option available.

~Snacks & coffee provided!~

Register to attend in person or on Zoom.


1.) "Reconstructing Heritage: A History of Archaeological Collections in Provincial Museums of Eastern India" by Pritha Mukherjee

Pritha Mukherjee

Abstract: My dissertation takes the creation of the Bihar Museum in India as a point of departure to interrogate the processes behind production of regional cultural heritage in Eastern India since the 1940s. In this presentation, I will be talking about how the Museum’s function as a modern archaeological museum signals a new age in museum-making in South Asia. Emerging out of the confluence of identity politics, the global Buddhist revival, as well as the hypernationalist heritage movement in India, the Bihar Museum has been touted as an international-level museum with star architects behind its design. The talk will feature three sections: historical background of museum constructions in Eastern India, the sociohistorical processes behind construction of the new Bihar Museum, and the wider national and international impact of its construction. I investigate the roles of new museums in reorganizing cultural heritage sites and what this radical reconstruction of an archaeological collection in service of regional nationalism tells us about the state of contemporary museology in South Asia more broadly.

Speaker Bio: Pritha Mukherjee is a 4th year PhD Candidate at the Department of Art History, Rutgers-New Brunswick and a Rutgers Presidential Fellow (2019-2024). Her dissertation explores the creation of archaeological collections in South Asia in twentieth century through contemporary times, and the politics of their popular representations in light of current sociopolitical developments. She has an MA in Historical Studies from Nalanda University, India, and a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry from Presidency University, India. Pritha has worked as a field investigator in the Rajgir Archaeological Survey Project (RASP) and done field surveys in north India and Nepal. Her work in public history includes her stints as a Walk Consultant with Rajgir Heritage Walk and a Research and Development Associate with Immersive Trails Pvt Ltd. She has researched and developed walking tours around the city of Kolkata and led public history workshops with Goethe Institut and British Council.


About Research Cafe

Research Café brings together the entire graduate student community of Rutgers University-New Brunswick/Piscataway campus to strengthen scholarly literacy and interdisciplinary research communication by providing a platform for budding researchers to connect, share their in-progress research or scholarship, and benefit from peer feedback in a friendly and low-stakes setting. 

Research Café is a monthly, one-hour event to occur at rotating locations across the Rutgers New Brunswick/Piscataway campus (a Zoom option will be available, too). Each event will feature:

  1. Presentations (10-12 min. each) from two graduate students from across disciplinary areas ranging from engineering and biology to history and anthropology.
  2. A Q&A dialogue with peers and attendees.
  3. Conversational time over refreshments and snacks.

Sign up to attend in person or on Zoom at


Questions? Contact the program coordinators:

Sonal Gahlawat at, Briana Bivens at, and Ramazan Güngör at


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