About me

I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at UMass Amherst with a Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies from Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UMass Amherst and a Masters in Public Health. My main research interests include political sociology, ethnographies of violence, critical geography, and global histories of empire and imperialism. My work follows two interrelated themes. Mostly, I am interested in understanding how people live through and survive traumatic histories of dispossession. I am particularly concerned with geographies of trauma: how are places (nations, towns) produced by and carry traces of layered histories of violence. And how do people’s practices of locating, remembering, inverting, forgetting negotiate life in these spaces. My focus of these investigations is historical transitions in South Asia after the end of European empires. Second, I am also interested in understanding how idioms of resistance, freedom, self-determination travel; the ways they reverberate into our present; and create possibilities of transformative listening and translation.

My dissertation “The Past is a Foreign Country: The Politics of Colonial Re-territorialization in 20th Century India” examines the afterlives of the  military-led annexation of the sovereign State of Hyderabad by the newly formed Indian state in 1948, and the genocide of Muslims accompanying it. Based on 20 months of archival and ethnographic research this work examines how Dalits, Hindus, and Muslims negotiate the conflicting desires and narratives produced by the project of postcolonial sovereignty. The dissertation intervenes in the scholarly and public conversations on political violence, ethnic nationalism, sovereignty, belonging, and citizenship.  

In a book project underway titled Select works of Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois (A critical annotated translation) I have taken on the task of thematically curating and translating an anthology of eight annotated essays of W. E. B. Du Bois from English to Hindi. This project is funded by an Andrew Mellon Fellowship (2019-2020) awarded by the W.E.B. Du Bois center at the UMass Amherst.

My work has been supported by several fellowships: W. E. B. Du Bois Fellowship, Interdisciplinary Studies Institute (UMass Amherst) Fellowship, Max Planck Institute – Tata Institute of Social Sciences Fellowship, and UMass Graduate School. I am indebted to both my ethnographic research and my community engaged work on state violence, prisons, and health for the emphasis on critique, reflexivity, and translation.