Mohan Dutta

 

 


 

Mohan J Dutta is Provost's Chair Professor and Head of the Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Adjunct Professor at the Interactive Digital Media Institute (IDMI) at NUS, and Courtesy Professor of Communication at Purdue University. At NUS, he is the Founding Director of the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE), directing research on culturally-centered, community-based projects of social change. He teaches and conducts research in international health communication, critical cultural theory, poverty in healthcare, health activism in globalization politics, indigenous cosmologies of health, subaltern studies and dialogue, and public policy and participatory social change. Currently, he serves as Editor of the "Critical Cultural Studies in Global Health Communication Book Series" with Left Coast Press and sits on the editorial board of seven journals. Before arriving to NUS, he served as Associate Dean of Research in the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University, a Service Learning Fellow, and a fellow of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy. Also at Purdue, he served as the Founding Director of the Center for Poverty and Health Inequities (COPHI), where he continued to hold an Affiliate appointment.

Professor Dutta holds a Bachelor of Technology (Honors) in Agricultural Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, and a PhD in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota. He began his career at Purdue University in 2001, was tenured in 2005, and became Full Professor in 2009. In June, 2010, he was appointed as the Lim Chong Yah Professor of Communication and New Media at the National University of Singapore (NUS), and formally joined NUS as Professor of Communication in July, 2012.

Mohan Dutta's research examines marginalization in contemporary healthcare, health care inequalities, the intersections of poverty and health experiences at the margins, political economy of global health policies, the mobilization of cultural tropes for the justification of neo-colonial health development projects, the meanings of health in the realms of marginalized experiences in highly underserved communities in the global South, and the ways in which participatory culture-centered processes and strategies are organized in marginalized contexts to bring about changes in neo-colonial structures of global oppression and exploitation. Engaging in dialogues with subaltern communities at the global margins in imagining alternative spaces that resist neoliberal formations forms the crux of Professor Dutta's academic and activist projects.

Based on his work on healthcare among indigenous communities, sex workers, migrant workers, rural communities of farmers, and communities living in extreme poverty, he has developed an approach called the culture-centered approach that outlines culturally-based participatory strategies for addressing unequal healthcare policies and global disparities. Based on academic-activist collaborations, the culture-centered approach uses a combination of postcolonial deconstruction, resistive strategies for performance and dialogue-based reflexive participation to create entry points for listening to the voices of marginalized communities that have historically been stripped of agency in modernization discourse and constructed as recipients of messages of development targeted by experts located in the global North. At the core of his research agenda is the activist emphasis on provincializing Eurocentric knowledge structures, and de-centering hegemonic knowledge constructions through subaltern participation. He has received over $4 million in funding to work on culture-centered projects of health communication, social change, and health advocacy. Currently, he is working on a $1.5 million grant funded by the Agency for HealthCare Research & Quality (AHRQ) to develop a culturally-centered health communication project on heart disease among African American communities in the Lake and Marion counties of Indiana. This community-grounded project interrogating the unhealthy structures that constrain the health and wellbeing of African American neighborhoods in the US became the basis for multiple organic projects rooted in the aspirations in the community for health and wellbeing. At NUS, he has received $1.9 million in funding from the Office of the Provost to run culture-centered projects of health in South Asia. In addition, he has received funding from the Ministry of Education (MoE) in Singapore for projects on mapping health information needs, health of transgender sexworkers, and health needs of women with cardiovascular disease.

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