Jayanthi Mistry

Jayanthi Mistry

(617) 627-2038
105 College Avenue
Research/Areas of Interest:

Theoretical perspectives on the integration of culture and human development; Narratives of identity and place in communities; Navigating multiple cultural worlds, with a focus on ethnic minority, immigrant, and under-represented communities; Interpretive and Narrative Analysis methods in the study of children and families.


  • PhD, Child Development, Purdue University, United States, 1983
  • MSc, Child Development, University of Baroda, India, 1975
  • BSc, Home Economics, Punjab Agricultural University, India, 1973


I am an applied developmental and cultural psychologist who seeks to understand the multiple and diverse realities of the human experience within and across nations, in an increasingly complex, rapidly changing, and interconnected world. Towards this goal, my scholarship and teaching are based broadly on a sociocultural perspective that recognizes individual development as situated in context, with culture as the meaning-making processes through which individual and context are integrated. A unifying theme of my current research projects is a focus on narratives of developmental processes and transitions, because these foreground individuals as active agents making sense of their encounters with developmental contexts.

Current research projects are broadly aimed at examining the dynamic and fluid processes of development, using interpretive research approaches, including person-centered and idiographic analytic methods. In a current line of research on the development of self and identity, I use a narrative approach to study the processes of identity development and how context matters in the construction of identity. Other ongoing research projects broadly address issues of equity and access, including analysis of narratives of unfair treatment and how narrators make sense of these experiences; perceived discrimination in neighborhood contexts; and narrative analysis of young mothers' educational and early parenting trajectories.

Prior to joining Tufts University, I worked at the Center for the Development of Early Education at Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu, where I was engaged in research and program development projects for early childhood education. Since then, I have maintained a commitment to developing effective collaborations with practitioners in educational and community-based human service settings. With colleagues on the RISE Project (Readiness through Integrative Science and Engineering), we have worked to co-construct curriculum and professional development supports for Head Start teachers, building on children's existing knowledge and experiences in home and community contexts.

Another ongoing collaboration is with the City Lights Writing Collaborative that 'uses writing as a platform for creative youth development, critical thinking, and civic engagement'. This project led by Kerri Bowen (AG00, AG10), the executive director of the Boston Shakespeare Project, consists of collaborative writing projects that connect local middle, high school, and college students to craft and share their stories with the community.