Maria Tumiotto

Current Project

I am currently a PhD student at the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures of the University of Manchester, working under the supervision of Prof. Anindita Ghosh and Dr. Jesus Chàirez-Garza. My PhD project investigates the agency and subjectivity of Bengali female students involved in popular movements during the late colonial period. From the early political experience of the Swadeshi movement against the Partition of Bengal to the relief work for the 1943 Bengal famine, young women activists increasingly took part in the social and political life of India. This process is marked by a constant negotiation of the boundaries of gender and class set by the dominant discourses, whether colonial or nationalist. The goal of this thesis is to investigate female students’ peculiar ‘in-between’ position, as both women and members of the student community, and research how this shaped their roles and actions in colonial Bengal popular movements. My methodology includes a close reading of memoirs and accounts left by Bengali schoolgirls, against a background of newspaper articles and governmental reports. In trying to locate the varying subjectivities of female students, my project encompasses activism, feminism, and student unrest.


Academic Curriculum

I received the B.A. in History at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, graduating with honours under the supervision of prof. Stefania De Vido and prof. Stefano Beggiora. Then I completed the M.A. in History and Oriental Studies at the Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna, with an academic curriculum based on Indology. During the M.A. I won the ‘Overseas’ scholarship, which had allowed me to attend a semester at the Jadavpur University of Kolkata. There, I had the opportunity to do archival research at the Netaji Bhawan, as well as learning the basis of the Bengali language at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture in Golpark. I graduated with honours with a thesis focused on Subhas Chandra Bose’s relations with Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany between the 1930s and 1940s, with prof. Saverio Marchignoli and Dr. Marco Franceschini as supervisors. My thesis is now published in Italy by Bonomo Editore.


Research Interests

My current research interests include colonial Indian history, gender studies, activism and student movements, and feminism. My previous research work allowed me expertise in the areas of Indian nationalism, global history during World War II, intellectual history, and Bengal history. I also studied Sanskrit and Bengali, as well as German.

Outside of university life, I have a deep passion for post-colonial literature (Jhumpa Lahiri, Amitav Ghosh, Sheena Kalayil), ‘old’ Italian movies (Federico Fellini, Ettore Scola, Mario Monicelli), cooking and baking, and scuba-diving.


Conferences and Publications

“Why can’t we live such lives!”: practices of reading and identity making amongst colonial Bengal bhadramahilas

Cambridge Cultural History Workshop (University of Cambridge, 8th Jun. 2022)


“The immolation of a daughter of India”: Bina Das’s murder attempt and the discourse on Indian womanhood

BASAS conference (University of Southampton, 31st -2nd Mar. 2022)


“A synthesis between Communism and Fascism”: Subhas Chandra Bose’s sāmyavāda as a non-Western overcoming of ‘opposite’ ideologies

IDEA conference (University of Lorraine, 21st-23rd Oct. 2021)


“The Tripartite Powers are our best friends”: Subhas Chandra Bose’s relations with Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany between the 1930s and 1940s

PG History Network (The University of Manchester, 11th Feb. 2021)


Tumiotto, Maria, I soggiorni in Italia e Germania di Subhas Chandra Bose. Un leader politico indiano tra fascismo, nazismo e comunismo (Bologna: Bonomo Editore 2020).




Twitter: @mariatumi_

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