Urmitapa Dutta

Urmitapa Dutta

Associate Professor

College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Coburn - 850 Broadway Street


Youth participatory action research, Critical community psychology, Conflict transformation and peacebuilding, Northeast India/South Asia

Research Interests

Structural violence; Gender-based violence; Youth participatory action research; Critical community psychology; Qualitative methodologies; Ethnic conflict and peacebuilding; South Asia.

Urmitapa Dutta's scholarship is oriented around the concept of “everyday”—as socially organized contexts as well as material settings in which injustice and oppression are configured. Specifically, her research program focuses on interrogating everyday violence, that is, forms of direct, structural (e.g., racism, health inequalities, poverty) and cultural violence (e.g., racialized and racist media representations) that become normalized and are no longer questioned by most people/institutions. Through deeply engaged community-based research in both India and the U.S., she has developed a framework of “everyday peace” to intervene in entrenched violence. Her current research examines cross-cutting topics of coloniality, citizenship, gendered oppression, and community building.


  • Ph D: Clinical Community Psychology, (2012), University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, Illinois
    Supporting Area: Qualitative inquiry
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: The Long Way Home: A Critical Ethnography of Youth and Conflict in Northeast India
  • MA: Clinical Psychology, (2005), University of Dehli - India
  • BA: Psychology, (2003), University of Dehli - India

Selected Awards and Honors

  • 2015 Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence, Dept. of Psychology (2015), Teaching - University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Distinguished Service Award (2015), Service, Community - University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Illinois Distinguished Qualitative Dissertation Award (2014) - International Institute for Qualitative Inquiry
  • Recognition for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Teaching (2014), Teaching - University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Best Dissertation Award in Community Psychology (2013), Scholarship/Research - Society for Community Research and Action
  • Exemplary Diversity Scholar (2012), Scholarship/Research - National Center of Institutional Diversity, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI

Selected Publications

  • Dutta, U. (2018). Decolonizing “community” in community psychology. American Journal of Community Psychology.
  • Sonn, C.C., Arcidiacono, C., Dutta, U., Kigua, P., Kloos, B., Maldonado Torres, N. (2017). Beyond disciplinary boundaries: Speaking back to critical knowledges, liberation and community. South African Journal of Psychology, 47(4) 448-458.
  • Dutta, U., Aber, M., (2017). Enacted cultural critique: Examining everyday violence in Garo Hills. . Journal for Prevention and Intervention in the Community , 45(1) 19-31.
  • Dutta, U. (2017). The everyday and the exceptional: Rethinking gendered violence and human rights in Garo Hills, India.
  • Dutta, U. (2016). Prioritizing the local in an era of globalization: A proposal for decentering Community Psychology. American Journal of Community Psychology, 58(3-4) 329-338.
  • Dutta, U., Sonn, C.C. (Victoria University, Melbourne), Lykes, M.B. (Boston College) (2016). Situating and contesting structural violence in community-based research and action. Community Psychology in Global Perspective, 2(2) 1-20.
  • Dutta, U., Andzenge, A.K., Walkling, K. (2016). The everyday peace project: An innovative approach to peace pedagogy. Journal of Peace Education, 13(1) 79–104.
  • Dutta, U., Shroll, T., Engelsen, J., Prickett, S., Hajjar, L., Green, J. (2016). The “messiness” of teaching/learning social (in)justice: Performing a pedagogy of discomfort. Qualitative Inquiry, 22(5) 345-352.
  • Dutta, U. (2015). The long way home: The vicissitudes of belonging and otherness in Northeast India. Qualitative Inquiry, 21(2) 161-172.
  • Dutta, U. (2014). Critical ethnography (pp. 89-105). SAGE Publications
  • Aber, M.S., Dutta, U., H.A., S., De La Rosa, B., Khuri, L. (2010). Fostering diversity, dialogue and democracy in the Intersections Living and Learning Community at the University of Illinois.

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Negotiating belonging and citizenship in Southern contexts (2018), Grant - National Research Foundation, South Africa
    Dutta, U. (Co-Investigator)
  • Youth perspectives on Lowell: A community-based digital storytelling project (2018), Grant - UMass Lowell 2020 Community Impact Grant
    Dutta, U. (Co-Principal), Vinson, J.E. (Co-Principal)
  • Exploring women’s perspectives on conflict and peacebuiding in Garo Hills (2015), Grant - Center for Women and Work
    Dutta, U.
  • Youth perspectives on community violence: A participatory action research project (2013), Grant - Internal Seed Grant (Public Service Award)
    Dutta, U.
  • Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities Graduate Fellowship (2010), Fellowship - University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
    Dutta, U.
  • Junior Research Fellowship (2010), Fellowship - American Institute of Indian Studies
    Dutta, U.