Dr Mirna Guha

Course Leader, MA, Sociology;

Senior Lecturer, Sociology

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:Humanities and Social Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Sociology , Gender

Research Supervision:Yes

Mirna specialises in research on gender-based violence, social justice, and social relations in marginalised communities. Her teaching interests and specialisms include feminist theory, gender and sexuality studies, social anthropology, and development studies.

Email: mirna.guha@aru.ac.uk


Mirna joined ARU in 2017, a few months prior to completing her PhD in International Development from the University of East Anglia. Her doctoral research, which was fully-funded by an international postgraduate studentship, explored the experiences of everyday violence in the lives of women formerly and actively in sex work in Eastern India. The research highlights how experiences and negotiations with violence and power inequalities are embedded within everyday social relations with members of the household, communities, market and the state. These experiences and negotiations affect entries into sex work, experiences within, pathways out of, and re-entries into sex work. Mirna has published findings from her research in inter-disciplinary journals viz. Gender and Development, International Journal of Fashion Studies, and Gender, Place, and Culture and in a blog for The Sociological Review.

Prior to joining ARU, Mirna worked as a Research Assistant at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. The research explored how Muslims living in London perceive and experience police counter-terrorism experiences. This cemented her interest in studying how BAME (British Asian Minority Ethnic) communities perceive and experience social justice in the UK and Europe.

In her research and teaching, Mirna adopts an intersectional approach to explore the various ways in which gender, ethnicity, class, religion and other categories of social identity shape inequalities.

Spoken Languages

  • English
  • Bengali
  • Hindi

Research interests

  • Gendered inequalities
  • Agency, Resilience
  • 'Race', Identity, and Social Relations
  • Gender-based violence
  • Sex work
  • Social justice

Mirna’s research interests include gender inequalities, gender-based violence, and expressions of agency and resilience within unequal power and gendered relations.

Mirna is currently collaborating on a Global Challenges Research Fund project on gender inequalities and informal urban housing in India. She is interested in collaborative research opportunities with grass roots organisations on migration and social cohesion, and perceptions and experiences of safety among women from socially and culturally marginalised communities.

Areas of research supervision

  • Gender-based violence against street children in Nigeria
  • Experiences of ‘sisterhood’ among black British women
  • Experiences of LGBT+ individuals after the repeal of Section 28
  • Self-imposed limits to body modifications among young women in England


Current Modules taught:
  • MA/MSc modules: Globalisation, Social Welfare and Social Policy
  • BA modules: Feminist Theory and Practice, Comparing Social Lives, Sexuality and Social Control


  • PhD, International Development. University of East Anglia – fully funded by the Postgraduate Internationalisation Studentship awarded by the Faculty of Social Science (SSF), UEA.
  • MA, Gender and International Development. University of Warwick - fully funded by the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship
  • MA, English, Jadavpur University, India
  • BA, English (Hons), Jadavpur University, India

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)
  • Member, Sex Work Research Hub
  • Member, European Network on Gender Violence
  • Member, Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK & Commonwealth
  • Member, Development Studies Association
  • Member, British Association of South Asian Studies

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • December 2015. Consultant, Hummingbird Trust (London). Commissioned to prepare a learning paper on a review of anti-trafficking interventions to inform strategic programming in South Asia.

Selected recent publications


Guha, Mirna., 2019. ''Safe spaces' and 'bad' girls: 'child marriage victims' experiences from a shelter in Eastern India, Gender, Place & Culture', 26:1, 128-144, DOI:10.1080/0966369X.2019.1574720

Guha, Mirna (2018). 'Disrupting the 'life-cycle' of violence in social relations: recommendations for anti-trafficking interventions from an analysis of pathways out of sex work for women in Eastern India', Gender & Development, 26:1, 53-69,DOI: 10.1080/13552074.2018.1429098. Open access version.

Guha, M., 2018. Sartorially weaving their way through bhodrota (respectability): Georgette sarees, bangles and selling sex in a Kolkata neighbourhood. International Journal of Fashion Studies, 5(2), pp.399-405. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/infs.5.2.399_7

Book chapter

Guha, M., 2020. '"I entered this life because my husband left me, I have to be careful now": A study of domesticity, intimacy and belonging in the lives of women in sex work in a red-light area in Eastern India’ in J. Carter and L. Arocha (eds.) Romantic relationships in a time of cold intimacies. London: Palgrave.


Guha, Mirna. 2019. ‘Dynamic Lives, Dynamic Identities: Representing Agency and Victimhood Within the Lives of Women in Sex Work’. The Sociological Review, Politics of Representation collection.