Affiliated Scholars

Amber Abbas, Saint Joseph's University
Ishan Ashutosh, Indiana University
Vivek Bald, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Monika Bhagat-Kennedy, University of Mississippi
Tamara Bhalla, University of Maryland - Baltimore County
Neilesh Bose, University of Victoria
Michelle Caswell, UCLA
Jigna Desai, University of Minnesota
Philip Deslippe, UC Santa Barbara
Pawan Dhingra, Amherst College
J. Daniel Elam, University of Hong Kong
Himanee Gupta Carlson, Empire State College
Fariha Khan, University of Pennsylvania
Radha Modi, University of Illinois
Sherally Munshi, Georgetown University
Amritjit Singh, Ohio University
Anantha Sudhakar, San Francisco State University

Bios (alphabetical by last name):

Dr. Amber Abbas is an Associate Professor of History at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia where she teaches courses on World History, South Asia, South Asian America and Oral History Methodology. She completed her Ph.D. in South Asian History at the University of Texas at Austin where she trained in oral history training with Martha Norkunas. Amber’s oral history and archival research focuses on the period of transition associated with the 1947 Independence and Partition of India that ultimately resulted in the creation of three separate states: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. She served as co-chair of the Academic Council of South Asian American Digital Archive from 2014-2017, and on the SAADA Board of Directors. She serves on the OHA Education Committee and has published in South Asian History and Culture, The Appendix, and The Oral History Review. She has worked in archives and conducted oral histories in the United States, England, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.

Dr. Ishan Ashutosh is Assistant Professor of Geography at Indiana University-Bloomington. As a critical human geographer, Dr. Ashutosh’s work encompasses the study of migration, the politics of race and ethnicity from an international and comparative perspective, and urban studies. His research examines the multiple and contested representations of South Asia through projects situated at the intersection of migration and area studies. The first research project focuses on the transnational politics of South Asian diasporas in multiple urban centres in the United States and Canada. His second research project examines the constructions of South Asia in the social sciences as a site of knowledge production from within the discipline of geography and as Cold War area studies. Dr. Ashutosh holds a PhD in Geography from Syracuse University, a Master's degree in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, and a BA in History from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Dr. Vivek Bald is a scholar and filmmaker whose work focuses on histories of migration and diaspora, particularly from the South Asian subcontinent. He is the author of Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America (Harvard University Press, 2013), and co-editor, with Miabi Chatterji, Sujani Reddy, and Manu Vimalassery of The Sun Never Sets: South Asian Migrants in an Age of U.S. Power (NYU Press, 2013). Bald's articles and essays have appeared in Souls, Dissent, South Asian Popular Culture, and the collections Black Routes to Islam, edited by Manning Marable and Hisham Aidi, and Asian Americans in Dixie, edited by Jigna Desai and Khyati Joshi. His documentary films include Taxi-vala/Auto-biography (1994) which explored the lives, struggles, and activism of New York City taxi drivers from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and Mutiny: Asians Storm British Music (2003) a hybrid music documentary/social documentary about South Asian youth, music, and anti-racist politics in 1970s-90s Britain. Bald is currently working on a second book, The Rise and Fall of "Prince" Ranji Smile: Fantasies of India at the Dawn of the American Century, as well as the transmedia "Bengali Harlem/Lost Histories Project" which extends the work of the Bengali Harlem book via a feature-length documentary film and web-based oral history/community history platform. He is Associate Professor in Comparative Media Studies and Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of MIT's Open Documentary Lab.

Dr. Monika Bhagat-Kennedy specializes in colonial-era and modern Indian literature. Her book manuscript-in-progress, Imagining Bharat: Colonialism, Nationalism, and the Politics of Form in the Indian Novel, 1880-1920, examines how the early Indian novel mythologized India as a primordial Hindu homeland amidst evolving anticolonial and nationalist thought at the turn of the twentieth century. Her research and teaching interests include postcolonial literature and theory, theory of the novel, nationalisms and nostalgias, contemporary South Asian diasporic literature and film, global literatures of protest and resistance, and British philosophies and literatures of empire. Articles and reviews have been published in Verge: Studies in Global Asias, The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, and South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies.

Dr. Tamara Bhalla is an Associate Professor in the American Studies department and Affiliate Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Her research and teaching interests include South Asian American literature, Asian American literature and culture, and literary reception. Her book Reading Together, Reading Apart: Identity, Belonging, and South Asian American Community was published in November 2016 with the University of Illinois Press as part of the Asian American Experience. Reading Together, Reading Apart is an interdisciplinary investigation of the practice of reading within a South Asian American book club. The manuscript explores how reading among South Asian Americans in this extensive, national book club is a practice of ethnic identity formation mediated by questions of what constitutes taste and cultural capital among South Asian subjects in the 21st century United States.

Dr. Amy Bhatt is Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). She received her PhD in Feminist Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. Her research focuses on the effects of migration on gender and families, social reproduction, and South Asian community formation. Her most recent book High-Tech Housewives: Indian IT Workers, Gendered Labor, and Transmigration (University of Washington Press, 2018) explores how ideas about gender and the family are transformed and reinforced through transnational and circulating migration, using the case of Indian H-1B and H-4 visa holders. She is the co-author of the book Roots and Reflections: South Asians in the Pacific Northwest (University of Washington Press, 2013) with Nalini Iyer, the former oral historian for the South Asian Oral History Project, and the co-chair of SAADA's Academic Council.

Dr. Neilesh Bose is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair of Global and Comparative History at the University of Victoria. His research and teaching interests include South Asian history, cultural history, decolonization, and globalization. In addition to work in various aspects of modern history, he has written and edited various works about the politics and history of South Asian migrants in global and comparative perspective.

Dr. Michelle Caswell, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Archival Studies in the Department of Information Studies at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where she also holds a joint appointment with Asian American studies. Caswell directs a team of students at UCLA’s Community Archives Lab (, which explores the ways that independent, identity-based memory organizations document, shape, and provide access to the histories of minoritized communities, with a particular emphasis on understanding their affective, political, and artistic impact.

Dr. Jigna Desai is Professor in the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include Asian American, postcolonial, queer, disability, and diasporic cultural studies. She has served as a board member of the Association for Asian American Studies and serves as a co-editor of the Asian American Experience book series for the Univ. of Illinois Press. She is a founding member of the Race, Indigeneity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Collective (RIGS) at the University of Minnesota. Jigna Desai and Dr. Kari Smalkoski collaborate to amplify youth voices through 10,000 Stories: Minnesota Youth Make Media – an engaged research project focused on media-making with youth in urban public schools

Philip Deslippe is a PhD candidate in the Department of Religious Studies and a teaching associate in the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focuses on Asian, metaphysical, and marginal religious traditions in modern America, particularly the early history of yoga in the United States. He has published articles in the academic journals Amerasia, Sikh Formations, Contemporary Buddhism, and the Journal of Yoga Studies, as well popular pieces for Yoga Journal, Tricycle, Air & Space Smithsonian, and the Indian news site Scroll. Deslippe is a frequent contributor to Tides, the magazine of the South Asian American Digital Archive, and has served on its editorial collective for several years.

Dr. Pawan Dhingra is Professor of American Studies and Contributing Faculty in Anthropology/Sociology at Amherst College. He is Former Curator and Senior Advisor to the historic Smithsonian Institution’s Beyond Bollywood project. He and his work have been profiled on numerous media and public outlets, including the White House forum on AAPI heritage, The New York Times, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, Colorlines, Times of India, and many more. He has written and spoken on various aspects of the immigrant experience. This includes his latest book, Hyper Education: Why Good Schools, Good Grades, and Good Behavior Are Not Enough (New York University Press 2020), the award-winning Life Behind the Lobby: Indian American Motel Owners and the American Dream (Stanford University Press, 2012), and the award-winning Managing Multicultural Lives: Asian American Professionals and the Challenge of Multiple Identities (Stanford University Press, 2007). He co-authored, Asian America: Sociological and Interdisciplinary Perspectives (Polity Press 2014). In addition to writing op-eds and award-winning articles, he also appears in the documentary on Indian American spelling bee kids, Breaking the Bee. He has been President of the Board of the South Asian American Digital Archive. He has been department chair and held tenured positions at Tufts University and Oberlin College. He is @phdhingra1

Dr. J. Daniel Elam is an assistant professor of comparative literature at the University of Hong Kong. He has written about Bhagat Singh, W.E.B. Du Bois, M.K. Gandhi, Emma Goldman, B.R. Ambedkar, and Dhan Gopal Mukerji, as well as the Ghadr Party and South Asian American activism before 1965. He is the author of World Literature for the Wretched of the Earth (Fordham University Press, 2020).

Dr. Himanee Gupta-Carlson is the author of Muncie, India(na): Middletown and Asian America. She is interested in capturing the historical experiences of South Asian Americans who emigrated in the immediate post-World War II era through the late 1990s and landed in small cities such as Muncie in the Midwest. Gupta-Carlson currently is researching and writing about Hip Hop artists and community based farmers as agents of social change, and is delving into how caste identities and Hindutva replicate in diaspora.

Dr. Fariha Khan is the Associate Director of the Asian American Studies program at the University of Pennsylvania where she also teaches courses on South Asians in the U.S, Asian American Communities, Asian American Food, as well as Muslim Identity in America. She received a Master's degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Yale University and a PhD in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. Her current research focuses on South Asian American Muslims and the Asian American community. Actively involved in the Philadelphia community, Dr. Khan is Co-Chair of the Board of the Philadelphia Folklore Project and Vice Chair of the Board of the Samuel S. Fels Fund. She serves on the Board of the American Folklore Society and is a member of the James Brister Alumni Society. Dr. Khan was appointed in 2015 to the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs and served until 2019.

Dr. Radha Modi is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Program at Florida State University. Previously, she was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Global Asian Studies Program at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Dr. Modi received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. She is working on her book manuscript, "Model Minority or Terrorist: What South Asians Show Us about Race in America." The project explores the racialization of second-generation South Asians. In addition to research, Dr. Modi works with community organizations such as South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) and South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA). In collaboration with SAALT, she authored a report entitled "Communities on Fire: Confronting Hate Violence and Xenophobic Political Rhetoric", which documents the hate violence and profiling that South Asian, Middle Eastern, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh communities have experienced following the 2016 election. Dr. Modi extends her research and community work passions to teaching.

Dr. Sherally Munshi is an Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown. Her areas of interest include histories of race, migration, and empire. Her writing has appeared in Harper's, The Yale Journal of Law and Humanities, and The American Journal of Comparative Law, where she is a member of the editorial board. Before joining the faculty at Georgetown, Sherally held fellowships at Georgetown and Princeton. She also worked in the litigation department of a New York City law firm. She earned a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, a JD from Harvard Law School, and BA from Brown University.

Dr. Amritjit Singh, Langston Hughes Professor of English at Ohio University, is currently a Fulbright-Nehru Visiting Professor of English at the University of Delhi. An internationally known scholar of American, South Asian, and Migration Studies, Singh has lectured and/or taught in more than a dozen countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Books edited or authored by him include: The Novels of the Harlem Renaissance (1976, 1994); Indian Literature in English, 1827-1979: An Information Guide (1981); India: An Anthology of Contemporary Writing (1983); Conversations with Ralph Ellison (1995); Memory and Cultural Politics (1996); Postcolonial Theory and the United States (2000); Collected Writings of Wallace Thurman (2003); Interviews with Edward W. Said (2004); and The Circle of Illusion: Poems by Gurcharan Rampuri (2011). He has served in leadership positions in organizations such as MELUS, USACLALS, and SALA. He received the MELUS Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 and the SALA Distinguished Achievement Award in Scholarship in January 2014. In 2014, he also received Ohio University’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Global Engagement.

Dr. Anantha Sudhakar is an Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, where she teaches courses on Asian American literature and South Asian American history and culture. Her research explores the relationship between contemporary South Asian American cultural production and community formation, and has been supported by a number of fellowships, including the Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies and a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Sudhakar has recently published work in the Asian American Literary Review and Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism and, in 2012, was awarded an Exemplary Diversity Scholar Citation by the National Center for Institutional Diversity. In addition to her research and teaching, Sudhakar has served as a staff and board member of several national and local community organizations, including: The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective, Bay Area Solidarity Summer and, currently, SAMAR: South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection.