Mohan J Dutta is Professor and Head of the Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore 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. At Purdue, he was the Founding Director of the Center on Poverty and Health Inequities. 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 social change. Currently, he serves as Editor of the “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).
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.
Based on his work on healthcare among indigenous communities, sex workers, migrant workers, rural communities 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. 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 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. 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.
Mohan Dutta has published over 150 journal articles and book chapters, and was recently noted as the most published scholar in Health Communication. He has authored the book “Communicating health: A culture-centered approach” published by Polity Press, and co-edited “Emerging perspectives in health communication: Meaning, culture, and power” (with Heather Zoller) published by Taylor and Francis, and “Communicating for social impact: Engaging communication theory, research, and pedagogy” (with Lynn Harter & Courtney Cole) published by Hampton Press. He has recently written the book “Communicating social change: Structure, culture, agency” published by Taylor and Francis, and the edited book “Communicating healthcare disparities” (with Gary Kreps) to be published by Peter Lang Press. In August 2012, Purdue University has published his book “Voices of Resistance.” For his scholarly productivity and contributions to health communication, Dr. Dutta was recognized as the Lewis Donohew Outstanding Scholar in Health Communication in 2006. At Purdue University, he was recognized as a University Faculty Scholar for his research productivity. Currently, he is working on the book “Globalization and Health Communication” to be published by Left Coast Press.
In addition to teaching, writing and conducting fieldwork, he enjoys spending leisure time with his wife and son, stimulating conversations with his advisees, organizing opportunities with grassroots groups, and participating in theater for social change. In his most recent performance work, he has served as the visiting artistic director for Rittwick, a grassroots group in West Bengal, India working on performance for social change. He has also directed the “Heart Health Indiana” campaign and the “Voices of Hunger” projects globally.