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Sengupta, Mitu



PhD (Political Science): Toronto




(416) 979-5000 x 4183

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Dr. Mitu Sengupta is Full Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University, and a full member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies, where she is program faculty for the MA program in Immigration and Settlement Studies, the York and Ryerson joint MA/PhD Program in Communication and Culture, as well as the MA in Public Policy and Administration and the PhD in Policy Studies.

Dr. Sengupta has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto, a Master of Arts in Political Science from McGill University, and a Bachelor of Arts (Joint Honours) in Political Science and Philosophy, also from McGill University. She has worked as a consultant for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), an editorial writer in India, and a lecturer at the University of Toronto, York University, and the University of Guelph.

Research Interests:

Dr. Sengupta has published widely on Indian market liberalization and development, on labour and migration in India, and on the politics of sporting events and film. Her more recent work focuses on normative concerns in international development and international relations, including the quest to create universal development goals (such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals), efforts to reduce corruption and develop accountable institutions, and efforts to strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance. She is interested, in particular, in India’s interventions in global policy arenas, and their relationship to domestic policy debates and social movement discourses.

Selected Publications:

Forthcoming (all categories)

  • "Sport and Development in India: A Comparative Study of the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 1982 Asian Games." In Sport and Environmental Sustainability, ed. Simon Darnell. New York: Routledge, forthcoming. 
  • “Western Academic Activism and Poverty Research: What’s not to like?” In Dimensions of Poverty, ed. Valentin Beck, Henning Hahn, and Robert Lepenies.  Berlin: Springer (forthcoming).
  • “Reflections on Sustainable Development Goals from the Perspective of Developing Countries: Transformative Change or Business as Usual?” In India’s Social Sector and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Critical Reflections, ed. R. Govinda.  New Delhi: Routledge (forthcoming).


  • “Transformational Change or a Tenuous Wish List: A Critique of SDG-1?” Social Alternatives 37:1 (2018): 12-17.  [Special issue on the Sustainable Development Goals, ed. Noha Shawki.]
  • “A Window into India’s Development Story: The 2010 Commonwealth Games.” In State Strategies for Leveraging Sports Mega-Events, ed. Jonathan Grix; a special issue of  International Journal of Sports Policy and Politics 9:2 (2017): 331-348. 
  • "Assessing the Sustainable Development Goals from a Human Rights Perspective: Why being better than the Millennium Development Goals is not good enough." [With Thomas Pogge].  Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy 32:2 (2016): 83-97.
  • “Non-Place, Dispossession, and the 2010 Commonwealth Games: An Urban Transformation Analysed.” City, Culture, and Society 7 (2016): 259-66.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals: An Assessment of Ambition,” E-International Relations (January 18, 2016).
  • “Modi Planning: What the NITI Aayog Suggests about the Aspirations and Practices of Narendra Modi's Government,” South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 38: 4 (January 2016): 791-806. [Special issue: Hindu Nationalism in Action: The Bharatiya Janata Party and Indian Politics, ed. John Harriss.]
  • “From the Planning Commission to the NITI Aayog: An Agenda for ‘Cooperative Federalism’?” In Bharat Punjabi, Mitu Sengupta, Richard M. Bird, and Sanjay G. Reddy, Requiem for an Institution: The End of the Indian Planning Commission, IMFG Forum 5 (2015): 3-6. [Published by the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG), Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.]
  • “The Sustainable Development Goals. Nice Idea, Poor Execution.” [with Thomas Pogge]. Washington International Law Journal 24:3 (June 2015): 571-587.
  • "The Sustainable Development Goals: a Plan for Building a Better World?" [with Thomas Pogge]. Journal of Global Ethics 11:1 (2015): 56-64. [Special section: Sustainable Development Goals Forum, ed. Eric Palmer.]
  • “A Déjà Vu Agenda or a Development Agenda?” [with Bhumika Muchhala]. Economic and Political Weekly XLIX:46 (15 November 2014): 28-30.
  • “Rethinking the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Eight Ways to End Poverty Now” [with Thomas Pogge]. Global Justice: Theory, Practice, Rhetoric 7 (2014): 3-11. [Special Issue: Global Justice and the Theory and Practice of Development, ed. Julian Culp.]
  • "Anna Hazare's Anti-Corruption Movement and the Limits of Mass Mobilization in India.” Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest 13:3 (July 2014): 406-13.
  • "¿Podemos tener objetivos de verdad, por favor? Por qué las alternativas propuestas para reemplazar a los Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio no tendrían éxito” [con Thomas Pogge]. Dilemata: Revista Internacional de Éticas Aplicadas 5:13 (2013): 167-169.
  • “New Millennium Development Goals: A New Version, An Old Wish List” [with Thomas Pogge]. Economic and Political Weekly XLVIII:39 (28 September 2013): 23-25.
  • “Bihar: A Report on the Global Summit on Changing Bihar, 2012.” Indian Journal of Human Development 6:1 (2012): 119-125.
  • “Anna Hazare and the Gandhian Ideal.” Journal of Asian Studies, 71:03 (August 2012): 593-601.
  • "India’s ‘New Gandhi,’ the Left and Democracy.” State of Nature (Autumn 2011): Democracy.
  • "World Class Dreams and Urban Change: A Critique of the 2010 Commonwealth Games." Indian Journal of Human Development 4:2 (2010): 433-443.
  • “A Million Dollar Exit from the Anarchic Slum-World: Slumdog Millionaire’s Hollow Idioms of Social Justice.” Third World Quarterly 31:4 (June 2010): 599-616. [Special Issue: Relocating Culture in Development and Development in Culture, ed. Dia Da Costa.]
  • “From ‘Hard Sell’ to ‘Soft Sell’: The IMF, World Bank and Indian Liberalization.” World Affairs 14:1 (Spring 2010): 112-137.
  • “Reductive Realities and Empty Humanism: A Critique of 'Born into Brothels' and 'Slumdog Millionaire'.” Indian Journal of Human Development 3:2 (July-December 2009): 367-378.
  • “Economic Liberalization, Democratic Expansion, and Organized Labour in India: Towards a New Politics of Revival?” Just Labour: A Canadian Journal of Work and Society 14 (Autumn 2009): 13-32.
  • Making the State Change Its Mind - The IMF, the World Bank, and the Politics of India’s Market Reforms.” New Political Economy 14:2 (June 2009), 181-210.
  • “The Left’s Electoral Debacle in India: Moving Toward an Explanation.” Relay: A Socialist Project Review 26 (April-June 2009): 55-58.
  • The Resurrection of India’s Congress Party,” Monthly Review’s MRZine, 22 May 2009.
  • "Labour Power and India's Market Reforms: The Politics of Decline and the Politics of Survival." Indian Journal of Labour Economics 51:4 (October-December 2008), 9983-992.
  • “How the State Changed Its Mind: Power, Politics, and the Origins of India’s Market Reforms.” Economic and Political Weekly (May 24, 2008), 35-42.
  • “Protecting Migrant Workers in the Twenty-First Century: Challenges for Rich Democracies.” World Affairs 11:3 (Autumn, 2007), 86-116.


Book Chapters

  • “What can human rights add to the fight against corruption? Some lessons from India.” In Discourse on Rights in India: Debates and Dilemmas, ed. Bijayalaxmi Nanda and Nupur Ray, 151-176. New York: Routledge, 2019.
  • “Post-Development.”  In Routledge Encyclopedia of Development Ethics, ed. Jay Drydyk and Lori Kelleher, 35-40. New York: Routledge, 2019.
  • “Civil Society and Anti-Corruption Initiatives in India: Towards A Citizens' Perspective." In Routledge Handbook of Corruption in Asia, eds. Ian Scott and Ting Gong, 196-208. London UK: Routledge, 2016.
  • “Introduction: Challenges of Achieving Sustainable Human Development in the Post-MDGs Era” [with Tanuka Endow and Sumit Mazumdar]. In Human Development in the Global South: Emerging Perspectives in the Era of Post-Millennium Development Goals, eds. Tanuka Endow, Sumit Mazumdar and Mitu Sengupta, 1-20. New Delhi: Institute for Human Development and Manak Publications Pvt. Ltd., 2014.
  • “Way Forward: Priorities for the Post-2015 Development Agenda” [with Thomas Pogge (Yale)]. In Human Development in the Global South: Emerging Perspectives in the Era of Post-Millennium Development Goals, eds. Tanuka Endow, Sumit Mazumdar and Mitu Sengupta, 399-409. New Delhi: Institute for Human Development and Manak Publications Pvt. Ltd., 2014.
  • "Race Relations Light Years from Earth.” In One World Many Cultures, 9th ed., eds. Stuart Hirschberg and Terry Hirschberg, 276-282. New York: Longman, 2015 (published January 2014).
  • “Poverty, Inequality and Liberalization: A Tale of Two Indias.” In Civilizing Globalization: A Survival Guide, eds. Richard Sandbrook and Ali Guven, 77-92. Albany NY: SUNY Press, 2014.
  • “A Million Dollar Exit from the Slum-World: ‘Slumdog Millionaire’s Troubling Formula for Social Justice.” Chapter 6 in The “Slumdog” Phenomenon: A Critical Anthology, ed. Ajay Gehlawat, 69-89. New York: Anthem Press, 2013.
  • "Race Relations Lights Years from Earth." In Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers, 7th ed. Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon, 412-16. New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011.

Book Reviews

Popular Press & Blogs

I've written commentaries for a number of newspapers, magazines, and blogs, including the Guardian, Toronto Star, Kafila, Counterpunch, Dissent Magazine, Ryeberg Curated Video, and Frontline.  My contributions include the following:

  • The SDG India Index — Can bold global ambition be translated into effective ground reality?”  ORF: Observer Research Foundation India Matters, 15 January 2019.
  • Sensitivity framing is crucial in the classroom.” The Globe and Mail, 01 December 2017.
  • “Sustainable Development Goals: A Better Pact is Possible” [with Thomas Pogge (Yale)]. Featured Article. Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP): 10 August 2014.
  • “Why India Should Be a Leader in the Fight Against Illicit Financial Flows” (with Rohit Sinha). Centre for Development and Human Rights (CDHR), New Delhi, India. Rights & Development Bulletin 7:3 (July-September 2013): 10-12.
  • Memo to the UN: Accountability is the key to effective development goals” [with Thomas Pogge (Yale)]. The Guardian (Poverty Matters Blog), 20 August 2013.
  • “Big Holes in the SDG Draft” [with Gabrielle Köhler (UNRISD Visiting Fellow, Geneva) and Thomas Pogge (Yale)]. CROP Poverty Brief (August 2014): 1-3. [Published by the CROP, Mobilizing Critical Research for Preventing and Eradicating Poverty].
  • Black Money flows: Time for Global Action.” The Pioneer (New Delhi, India), 27 July 2013, p. 9.
  • “Naming the Seven Billionth Child,”, November 5, 2011
  • Anna Hazare and the Gandhian Ideal,” Dissent Magazine, 23 August 2011.
    • reprinted on, 30 August 2011.
  • A Tale of Two India’s: Twenty Years of Liberalization,” Dissent Magazine, 15 August 2011.
  • “India’s World Class Heist,” Counterpunch, 8 August 2011
  • “India’s Easy Villains,” Monthly Review’s MRZine, 04 May 2011.
  • “Arjun Sengupta: A Daughter's Tribute,” The Asian Age, 15 October 2010, p. 14.
  • “Mud, Hubris, and Malevolent Urban Change: India’s Commonwealth Games,” Canadian Dimension 44:6 (November/December 2010): 14-17.
  • “The Price of Being World Class,” Counterpunch, 30 July - 01 August 2010.
  • “The 2010 Commonwealth Games: Delhi’s Worrying Transformation, Monthly Review’s MRZine, 19 July 2010.
  • “Sex, the City and American Patriotism,” Counterpunch, 18-21 June 2010 (Weekend Edition)
  • “On Slums: Towards a Change in Perspective.” Rights and Development Bulletin - Centre for Development and Human Rights, New Delhi, India 1:16 (February-May 2010): 4-6.
  • Avatar: Race Relations Light Years from Earth,” Ryeberg, curated video, 01 February 2010.
  • “Bombs, Bombshells, and Bollywood,” Ryeberg, curated video, 25 June 2009.
  • “The Bloodbath in Sri Lanka: Why Battering the Tamil Tigers Won’t Bring Peace,” Counterpunch, 27 April 2009.
    • reprinted in Ryerson Free Press, May 2009, p. 13
    • reprinted in La Estrella (Panama).
  • “Hollow Message: Slumdog Millionaire,” Frontline: India’s National Magazine 26:6 (14-16 March 2009).
  • “The World Bank’s Reforms: Different Image, Same Tune?” Monthly Review’s MRZine, 11 March 2009.
    • reprinted in Mainstream XLVII:44 (17 October 2009)
  • “Slumdog Millionaire’s Troubling Policy Implications,” The Toronto Star, 21 February 2009.
  • “What Mumbai Means,” This Magazine, 5 December 2008.
  • “The Challenge of Our Century: Recognizing the Rights of Migrant Workers in Rich Democracies.” Rights and Development Bulletin - Centre for Development and Human Rights, New Delhi, India 1:3 (April 2007): 4-7.
  • “Lagaan’s Oscar Hopes,” The Hindustan Times, 15 January 2002.

Professional Affiliations:

Dr. Sengupta is a senior visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Development, New Delhi, India, and Global Coordinator for the Centre for Development and Human Rights (CDHR), New Delhi, India. She is a member of the International Development Ethics Association (IDEA) and the Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA). At the HDCA, she is a co-coordinator of the Ethics and Development thematic group. Dr. Sengupta is also on the advisory board of Springer's new book series: Philosophy and Poverty. Previously, she was a director of Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP), an international professional network, anchored at Yale University.

Spoken Languages:

English, Hindi, Bengali