Katy trained at Cambridge and the LSE. After spending much of her career at the University of Sussex she has recently returned to the LSE and is currently head of department.
Her work focusses on issues of globalisation, migration and economic change in Bangladesh and its transnational communities in the U.K. Her doctoral research, carried out in the 1980s, examined the transformations associated with overseas migration in a village in Sylhet, and resulted in her monograph Global Migrants, Local Lives: Travel and Transformation in Rural Bangladesh (OUP 1995).
Katy is also interested in the relationship between anthropology and development. Her book Anthropology, Development and the Post-modern Challenge (Pluto Press, 1996; with David Lewis) reflects both the theoretical and practical issues arising from this relationship. The second edition of this book, Anthropology and Development : Twenty First Century Challenges was published by Pluto Press in 2015.
Combined with her long term research in Bangladesh, Katy has conducted fieldwork amongst Bangladeshi communities in the U.K. Her monograph Age, Narrative and Migration: The Life Course and Life Histories amongst Bengali Elders in London (Berg, 2002) analyses the elders' narratives of migration, ageing and illness in the UK, and suggests that transnational migration can be usefully understood as a gendered and embodied experience. More recently, she has led a research project on transnational Bangladeshi children in London. This involved arts based methods as well as more conventional fieldwork, and culminated in an exhibition of children's art, held at the Museum of Childhood in Spring, 2009.
Katy’s most recent research arises from and ESRC-Dfid grant ‘Mining, Livelihoods and Social Networks in Bangladesh’ and involves the role of multinationals and competing narratives of ‘development’ and ‘un-development’ in her original fieldwork site in Sylhet, where Chevron are now operating a large gas plant, focussing in particular upon corporate programmes of community engagement and discordant ideologies of philanthropy and development. This research resulted in her book ‘Discordant Development: global capitalism and the struggle for connection in Bangladesh.
Katy’s interest in land, dispossession and ‘development’ has recently resulted in a special volume of the journal SAMAJ on Land, Development and Security in South Asia, which she co-edited with Eva Gerharz
Katy is interested in supervising Phd students working on issues of development and its moral economies, industrialisation and corporatisation in South Asia, and transnational migration.
2012 Discordant Development: Global Capitalism and the Struggle for Connection in Bangladesh (Pluto Press: London)
2002 Narrative, Age and Migration: Life history and the Life Course Amongst Bengali Elders in London (Berg: Oxford)
1995 Global Migrants, Local Lives: Migration and Transformation in Rural Bangladesh (Oxford University Press: Oxford)
1991 Songs at the River's Edge - Stories from a Bangladeshi Village
(Virago: London (reprinted 1992 by Rupa Press, New Delhi, and reprinted March 1997, with a new forward by Pluto Press)
2012 Transnational Migration and the Study of Children co-edited with Kanwal Mand; Special edition of The Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (single authored Introduction plus article) Volume 38, Issue 6
2003 Migration and Modernities in South Asia co-edited with Filippo Osella Special edition of Contributions to Indian Sociology; Vol 37, numbers 1 and 2; jointly authored introduction.
2012 ‘Transnational Migration and the Study of Children: An Introduction.’ In Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies ; Volume 38, Issue 6 pp 889-912
2012 ‘My Away is here: place, empowerment and mobility amongst British Bengali children.’ In Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies; ibid (with Kanwal Mand) pp 969-986
2012 ‘Elusive partnerships : CSR and Gas extraction in Bangladesh.’ In Resources Policy , Volume 37, Issue 2 pp 168-174 (with Zahir Ahmed, Masud Rana and Fatema Bashir)
2009 ‘Lives in motion: the life course, movement and migration in Bangladesh.’ In Journal of South Asian Development; Volume 4 pp 229-251
2009 ‘Degrees of Separation: informal social protection, relatedness and migration in Biswanath, Bangladesh.’ With Zahir Ahmed; Journal of Development Studies Vol 45, number 1. pp 124-149
2008 ‘Keeping Connected: security, place and social capital in a Londoni village in Sylhet’ in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI); N.S 14, pp 447-495
2006 ‘The Transnational Work of Kinship and Caring: Bengali British Marriages in Historical Perspective’ in Special Edition of Global Networks, eds. Shaw, A and Charlesly, K. , Vol 6, Number 4 pp 373-389